Premier League • England

Chelsea star told he must quit Pochettino project to salvage career, with observer ‘shocked’ by poor display

Man City linked Chelsea star Ian Maatsen and Enzo Fernandez

Chelsea pair Ian Maatsen and Enzo Fernandez

Chelsea full-back Ian Maatsen has been told to find a new club at the earliest opportunity, with his time spent on the bench at Stamford Bridge not doing anything for his international career.

Maatsen enjoyed an excellent season with Burnley in 2022-23, registering four goals and six assists in 39 league games to help Vincent Kompany’s side win the Championship title. Burnley were eager to make the left-back’s loan move permanent in the summer, and reportedly had a £31.5million bid accepted by Chelsea.

However, Maatsen rejected the chance to head back to Turf Moor as he felt he could force his way into the Chelsea starting lineup under new boss Mauricio Pochettino.

Unfortunately for the 21-year-old, he has not been able to make a significant impact for the Blues this term.

Maatsen has made just nine appearances in all competitions so far, and is yet to play more than 45 minutes in a single Premier League match. Pochettino has decided on Ben Chilwell as his first-choice left-back, while also being able to use Marc Cucurella and Levi Colwill there.

Maatsen will have been hoping to make his debut for the Netherlands first team after impressing at Burnley, but his troublesome situation in West London has forced him to once again settle for a spot in the country’s U21 setup.

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The former PSV and Feyenoord youth player made his 13th appearance for Netherlands U21s against Gibraltar U21s on Thursday. He started the game but was replaced by Ajax talent Anass Salah-Eddine in the 47th minute.

Maatsen started again in the Netherlands’ 4-2 victory over Sweden U21s on Monday, managing a full 90 minutes. But Dutch pundits Marciano Vink and Kees Kwakman have criticised Maatsen for his sub-par display against Gibraltar, while also urging him to leave Chelsea by any means necessary.

Pundits ‘shocked’ by Chelsea man’s sub-par display

“I’m shocked by his level,” former Ajax star Vink said on ESPN (via Voetbal Nieuws and Sport Witness).

“The funny thing is he had a good season at Burnley under Vincent Kompany. Then he starts the preparation at Chelsea with a new coach, Mauricio Pochettino.

“He weighed him [up] and thought he was good enough to keep him. Then I have immediately a certain expectation. I sat down and then I saw a player who played football two tempos too slow.”

Kwakman, who played for the likes of Volendam and Groningen in his career, added: “When I have seen Maatsen play for the Dutch Juniors, I do not have the idea that he can quickly make the step to the Dutch national team.

“He occasionally comes in for a few minutes [at Chelsea]. That doesn’t help for such a boy. I think that means that the chance for a place in the Dutch national team is becoming smaller and smaller. He should be loaned out and then [he will] play three classes better.”

Interestingly, Maatsen could soon have the opportunity to leave Chelsea. Major clubs including Manchester City, Barcelona and West Ham United were backed to make moves for him when his contract was winding down.

Chelsea have since extended his contract until 2025, to prevent him from leaving on a free transfer, though Maatsen could end up handing in a transfer request if he continues to be snubbed by Pochettino.

Meanwhile, TEAMtalk can reveal West Ham are hoping to bolster their forward ranks in January by launching an ambitious move for one of Maatsen’s attacking team-mates at Chelsea.