In our relaunched weekly Scout feature, we take a deep dive into an emerging player on track to become a footballing superstar before our very eyes.
This week’s edition focuses on Chelsea striker Bryan Fiabema, the newest Norwegian marksman to have defenders quaking in their boots.
Fiabema, 17, took a leap of faith when leaving Norwegian side Tromso to sign on the dotted line for Chelsea in January, 2020.
The breakout of the coronavirus pandemic in the Spring ensured that his start to life at Cobham was anything but normal.
Unfazed, though, Fiabema took the uncertainty in his stride. He quickly graduated from the club’s Under-18s to their Under-23s within a few short months.
Adapting quickly, the hitman has notched six goals in 10 appearances in a blue shirt since football’s restart. A handy return, but one made all the more impressive when noting that those six goals came in just 477 minutes of action.
That equates to a goal every 79.5 minutes and all the signs point to that figure lowering in the coming months.
Why the hype?
Fiabema already possesses a plethora of traits required to construct the perfect centre-forward.
Strength, pace and size have all been naturally bestowed his way, but he is far from reliant on his physical gifts.
Fiabema is at ease playing on the last shoulder or dropping between the lines and has already shown the sort of clever movement that will leave defenders unsure whether to stick or twist.
Fiabema floored azpi wth . (The caption says unlucky or bad play? ) pic.twitter.com/iWiR1dcSH3
— Michael (@Sfj_Mike) November 19, 2020
Getting in behind the backline will be a common occurrence, but he is equally adept at playing with his back to goal and bringing others into play. Despite his tender age of 17, Fiabema has already displayed the nous required to win battle after battle with defenders often a year or two his senior.
His greatest asset, however, is his ability to shift his weight quickly and drive at (and usually past) defenders in 1-v-1 situations.
Even the most accomplished defenders may find staying on their feet a futile endeavour when Fiabema is around.
Reminds you of?
It would be foolish to brand the Norwegian starlet as one particular type of striker. Poacher, target man, playmaker – Fiabema already possesses too many strings to his bow to be singularly categorised.
Therefore, the player he mostly resembles in our eyes is Everton’s red-hot centre-forward Dominic Calvert-Lewin.
Calvert-Lewin can just as easily outmuscle his marker and nod home a corner as he can leave a defender in his wake and leave the goalkeeper grasping at thin air.
The pieces of his puzzle were always in the box. It just took a few years to fit them all together.
Fiabema is likely to follow a similar path. The talent is unquestionably there – 17-year-old’s don’t make a mockery of Under-23s football without it – but it will take some time for the masterpiece to be completed.
When it is, watch out.
Owing to the mad nature of football in current times, the 2019-20 iteration of the FA Youth Cup came to its conclusion in the timeframe of the 2020-21 season.
That meant Fiabema returned to the Under-18s for a brief foray in the last 30 days as Chelsea sought to make their eighth final in nine years.
Naturally, it was Fiabema that notched the game’s only goal…
The Experts’ View
Once his switch to Chelsea had been sealed, Fiabema told Tromso’s official website (via FootballLondon): “First and foremost I will play for the Chelsea U18 team. In addition, I’m going to train a part with the U23 team.”
His rapid promotion to the Under-23s surprised not only himself, but also Tore Andre Flo – a member of Chelsea’s coaching staff.
Flo outlined how impressive Fiabema’s transition to Chelsea has been during such uncertain times and revealed to Norwegian outlet VG (via SportWitness) that the starlet has already exceeded expectations.
“It’s been a pretty difficult time to do it, but he’s handled it really well. It has been impressive.
“It’s extremely tough competition, but he’s taken a very big step. Bigger than we had thought so far. He’s already been given a high star and established himself in the U23 team earlier than the club had envisioned. We thought he would need more time, but he has played a lot.”
Tell us something we don’t know…
Chelsea’s recent transfer ban seems like ancient history now after the arrival of almost a quarter of a billion’s worth of talent in the recent transfer window.
But lest we forget that the club’s ban was lifted in time for them to make a winter window splash.
The club’s first action in the market once freed from their shackles? The signature of Bryan Fiabema on the first day of the window for £540,000.
A perfect fit for…?
It’s still early, but given his legendary status with the club and results on the field starting to match his ambition, it seems highly likely that Frank Lampard will be the man to break the managerial mould at Chelsea.
Despite overhauling every department of his squad of late, Lampard has shown his willingness to give youth a chance.
Striker Tammy Abraham and midfielder Mason Mount are playing as much as anyone in their positions right now. The pathway from Chelsea academy to first-team is finally appearing to be a navigable one.
Fiabema’s permanent introduction to the first team isn’t likely to be near. Instead, a loan spell in the EFL would seem to be the most prudent curse of action.
Indeed, the aforementioned Abraham and Mount were certainly better off for their stints lower down the pyramid.
What’s more, at 17 there is no rush. After all, good things come to those who wait.
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