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Tottenham set to beat Chelsea to the signing of teenage defender

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Manchester United lead Chelsea in the race to sign Blackburn Rovers starlet Ashley Phillips.

Tottenham to beat Chelsea and Manchester United to sign Ashley Phillips

According to the Daily Mail (h/t Mirror), Tottenham Hotspur are set to beat rivals Chelsea and Manchester United for the signature of Blackburn Rovers starlet Ashley Phillips. The defender will become Spurs’ eighth signing of this summer window.

Phillips’ contract was expiring next summer, hence there was interest from Spurs to sign the player amidst an eye in from Chelsea and United. The 17-year-old did very well in his breakthrough season for the youth team of Blackburn. He has been promoted to the senior team squad for the 2022-23 season.

Chelsea have also been big admirers of signing young talents from the country and the continent, with the aim to bolster their youth academy and produce talents from there.

Ashley Phillips in action for Blackburn Rovers. (Image: Twitter)
Ashley Phillips in action for Blackburn Rovers. (Image: Twitter)

Signings of Carney Chukwuemeka (20 years old) from Aston Villa, Omari Hutchinson (18 years old) from Arsenal and Cesare Casadei (19 years old) from Inter Milan are examples of that.

Phillips is a centre-back by trade, who is comfortable playing on either side of the central defence. He made 14 appearances in all competitions last season for the Blackburn youth sides, scoring two goals and impressing with his defensive performances.

This season though, he has made three starts for Blackburn’s senior side, two of them in the Championship and one in the EFL Cup. Surprisingly enough, he has been comfortable playing against and with experienced players, despite only being 17.

Marc Guehi (in picture) and Fikayo Tomori are two young centre-backs that left Chelsea last year.
Marc Guehi (in picture) and Fikayo Tomori are two young centre-backs that left Chelsea last year.

If Spurs complete the signing of Phillips, is it a missed opportunity for Chelsea? Possibly so because of the quality of the player and also him being a homegrown talent. The Blues have a reputation for signing top young British talents and developing them into brilliant players for club and country. Reece James and Mason Mount are recent examples.

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For Phillips, what an opportunity this is! He has a chance to work with a former Premier League-winning manager (won with Chelsea) in Antonio Conte and learn a lot from him.

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