Matthew Williams makes his debut as a Planet Swans blogger with a look at a potential new manager in Jody Morris and some Chelsea youth players he could look to bring to Swansea. We welcome Matthew to the Planet Swans team and please get in touch if you, like he, would like to contribute blogs to the website.
Jody Morris Barmy Army? Five Chelsea youth stars who could follow Morris to Swansea
By Matthew Williams – follow Matthew on both Twitter and Instagram @MattW16x
Following John Eustace reluctant rejection of the Swansea job, the club has been forced to turn its attention elsewhere. As of now, the favourite for the post is the former Chelsea player and youth manager Jody Morris. The 42-year-old from Hammersmith played for the West London side from 1996 until 2003, after coming through their youth setup. After retiring, he returned to his boyhood club as a youth coach, before taking the role as U18 manager from 2016 to 2018.
He left in May 2018 to become Frank Lampard’s assistant manager at Derby County after two immensely successful seasons, winning seven trophies in his spell at Chelsea. A year later, Morris followed Lampard back to Chelsea, returning to the club as assistant manager of the first team. In their first season together at Stamford Bridge, they guided a young Chelsea side to fourth place. However, Lampard was sacked in January 2021 after a poor run of form, with Morris also leaving the club.
During his time with Chelsea’s U18s, Morris coached the likes of Champions League winner Mason Mount and ex-Swansea loanee Marc Guehi. His experience working with young players makes him an exciting prospect for the Swans, who will likely be reliant on youth once more.
With that being said, let’s look at five Chelsea youth stars who could reunite with Morris if he is appointed as Swansea City boss.
First up, we have Dujon Sterling. The highly rated 21-year-old is rumoured to be in talks over a new deal at Chelsea, with Thomas Tuchel said to be impressed with the right-back’s progress. He has been part of the side’s first-team squad for pre-season, playing 45 minutes in their 6-1 win over Peterborough.
While Sterling is yet to make his league debut for Chelsea, he has featured several times in cup competitions for the senior team. He also has experience playing EFL football through two loan spells as a teenager. In 2018-19 he made 38 appearances in League One with Coventry, before joining Wigan Athletic, where he played eight times in the Championship.
With further exits likely, Swansea may look to bring in a right-back. Current first choice Connor Roberts is highly sought after following another excellent season for club and country. However, his groin injury may put off potential suitors. Roberts is set to miss at least the first month of the season after limping off in Wales defeat to Denmark at Euro 2020.
On the topic of Wales internationals, Ethan Ampadu would be a major coup for the Swans, albeit an unlikely signing. The son of ex-Swan Kwame Ampadu has struggled to establish himself while out on loan at top-flight clubs, so a move to the Championship may be just what he needs to rejuvenate his career. The versatile defender/midfielder has made 26 appearances for Wales and would link up with fellow Wales international Connor Roberts if the latter remains at Swansea City.
After joining Chelsea from Exeter City in 2017, he made his Premier League debut aged just seventeen, coming on as a substitute against Huddersfield Town. This would prove to be his only league outing for the Blues so far. Two years later, he joined Bundesliga side RB Leipzig on loan, but made just three league appearances. He did however play three times in the Champions League, putting on an impressive display in their 3-0 win over Tottenham Hotspur in the Round of 16.
The following season, he joined Sheffield United, making 26 league appearances for the Blades. Unfortunately for Ampadu, his side were relegated in 20th place, while he often served as a scapegoat for Sheffield United fans.
With Marc Guehi gone and Matt Grimes heavily linked with a move to Fulham, Ampadu would be an excellent replacement in defence or midfield.
Another option for Jody Morris could be Trevoh Chalobah, another versatile player who offers similar attributes to Ethan Ampadu. The 22-year-old has gained plenty of Championship experience during several loan spells.
He spent the 2018-19 season at Ipswich Town, making 43 Championship appearances, scoring twice. The following season, He returned to the Championship, joining recently relegated Huddersfield Town. There, he played 36 times in the league, with his only goal for the club coming in a 2-1 defeat at Cardiff City.
After two spells in the English second tier, Chalobah received his first taste of top-flight football when he joined Ligue 1 side Lorient for the duration of the season. He made 29 league outings for the French side as they finished 16th, two points above the relegation zone.
The defender/midfielder has been linked with a variety of Championship clubs already this summer, including West Brom, while Crystal Palace, Watford and Lorient are also said to be interested. Swansea would face stiff competition if they were to make a move for Chalobah, but he may be drawn by the prospect of regular first-team football under Morris.
Despite playing as a wing-back for Accrington Stanley last season, Tariq Uwakwe is more accustomed to playing in central midfield. The 21-year-old provided excellent goal threat under Morris for Chelsea’s U18s, scoring six in his first season, before registering three goals and four assists in 2017-18.
Following Morris’ exit, Uwakwe played 26 times across two years with Chelsea U23s, before joining Accrington Stanley on loan for the 2020-21 season. There, he made 15 League One appearances, scoring once and assisting three times. He also scored a hattrick in their 7-0 win over Leeds United’s U21s in the EFL Trophy, just one day after joining on loan.
Much like with Ampadu and Chalobah, Uwakwe would provide great versatility to Swansea City.
Lastly, Armando Broja could be on Morris’ shortlist if he makes the move to SA1. The 19-year-old forward spent last season on loan at Vitesse Arnhem in the Eredivisie, scoring ten goals in 30 league appearances as they finished fourth in the top tier of Dutch football. He has also played six times for Albania, as well as making six international appearances at youth level.
At just 15-years-old, Broja made one appearance for Chelsea U18s in Morris’ final season as head coach. However, he would go on to establish himself in the side in the years that followed, scoring twice in 21 games in 2018-19 before bagging an impressive nine in nine games in 2019-20. He was then promoted to the Under-23s where he scored three times in 13 league appearances, as well as five goals in four FA Youth Cup games, before making his Premier League debut for Chelsea, aged 18.
Following Andre Ayew’s exit, the Swans signed 21-year-old Joël Piroe and 19-year-old Kyle Joseph to bolster their attack. Despite his age, Broja would provide another option up-front for the Swans, after finishing last season as the Vitesse’s joint-highest scorer.
With less than two weeks to go until the start of the Championship season, the Swans will need to be quick to appoint their next manager, with plenty of work still required before Swansea’s visit to Ewood Park on Saturday 7th August.