Chelsea warned they will regret selling key player as Man Utd consider shock bid

Wayne Bridge has cautioned Chelsea that they would regret offloading Ben Chilwell, who has unexpectedly become a target for Manchester United.

Since his £45 million transfer from Leicester City in 2020, Chilwell has played over 100 games for Chelsea and contributed to their Champions League victory in his debut season.

Despite being considered one of the top left-backs in the Premier League, Chilwell has faced significant injury issues, limiting him to just seven league appearances in the 2021-22 season and 13 last season.

Reports suggest Chilwell’s future at Chelsea is uncertain following the arrival of Enzo Maresca, who prefers his full-backs to move into midfield during possession.

Recently, Chelsea have been linked with Italian defender Riccardo Calafiori, which could be seen as undermining Chilwell, though Arsenal seems to be leading the race for the Bologna player.

Nonetheless, Manchester United have shown interest in Chilwell, especially after Erik ten Hag had to deal with the absence of injured left-backs Luke Shaw and Tyrell Malacia for much of last season.

Former Chelsea defender Bridge believes selling Chilwell would be a mistake and that the England international has a chance to impress Maresca during pre-season.

Maresca conducted his first training session on Monday after moving from Championship winners Leicester City to replace Mauricio Pochettino at Chelsea earlier this summer.

‘I’d look to keep him, but he just has to stay fit,’ Bridge, who made 142 appearances for Chelsea, said of Chilwell in an interview with Betfred.

‘He’s missed a lot of games for Chelsea but if he can stay fit, then I don’t know why you’d want to get rid of him, unless there’s something going on in the background that we don’t know about.

‘I just believe that Ben has a lot of ability and is capable of proving himself, as long as he stays fit.

‘He’s going to have to prove himself if the manager is uncertain about him, but a manager’s head can be turned by a player rather than them being stubborn enough to just force someone out.

‘If Ben does well, then he’s still got a chance of remaining at Chelsea. There’s not an abundance of left-backs out there and Ben’s a great one.’

Asked if Chelsea will need to enter the market and sign a new left-back should Chilwell leave, Bridge added: ‘I think so, yeah.

‘Marc [Cucurella] did really well at Brighton, he’s done okay for Spain, but it hasn’t really worked out for him at Chelsea really.

‘It’s hard, when you move clubs, to continue playing as well as you have been. You can play in different formations and you’re playing with different players.

‘Just because you’ve done really well for one club doesn’t mean that you’re going to automatically click within another.

‘It doesn’t always go that way. If the decision was mine, out of the two I’d be keeping Ben Chilwell.’

JB

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