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Exclusive: French football expert on star who snubbed Chelsea for surprise transfer

Exclusive: French football expert on star who snubbed Chelsea for surprise transfer

Aug 24, 2023

Ligue 1 journalist Jonathan Johnson has provided some insight into Elye Wahi and his transfer from Montpellier to Lens despite also being linked with other big names like Chelsea.

Wahi showed himself to be a hugely promising young talent with his performances in Ligue 1 last season, and it’s not surprising that he’s ended up securing a move to a Champions League club.

According to Johnson, writing in his exclusive weekly column for CaughtOffside, Wahi would have been more of a signing for the future at Chelsea, whereas he can immediately play at a high level with his move to Lens.

Johnson added that Lens ended up signing the 20-year-old as an alternative to Chuba Akpom, who ended up moving to Ajax instead.

Elye Wahi was superb in Ligue 1 last season

“Elye Wahi made a move that took everyone slightly by surprise as he made the switch from Montpellier to Lens after links with a number of other top clubs around Europe,” Johnson said.

“Still, I think it is a great move for the player and club. Lens were closing on Chuba Akpom before he favoured Ajax and that was a bit of a blow so this was a nice pivot to sign a player in Wahi who needed the step up in level with European experience for a club who needed to replace a major source of goals in Lois Openda.

“Wahi has shown that he can score regularly in Ligue 1 and will now get a taste for Europe while Lens can further develop a player who is already being watched by Europe’s top clubs. It is a better fit than being loaned to Strasbourg so it is little surprise to see Wahi jumping at the opportunity and it us also heartening to see such a significant deal done between French clubs which are not PSG.

“Frankfurt will likely continue to pursue Ekitike and Chelsea had Wahi as one for the future and not now which was perfect for Lens who will make him an immediate starter across all competitions.”

Some Chelsea fans may be disappointed not to have signed Wahi, who could surely have come in and solved the Blues’ issues up front straight away, given the team’s issues in that position for the last few years.


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