PROFILING HIS BEST ATTRIBUTES ASSESSING HIS FUTURE ANALYSING HIS STATS LEARNING ABOUT HIS STORY SO FAR
Finding a Potential Transfer for Tammy Abraham
It is a shame to see young players go undervalued at elite sides across Europe. In the past, players such as Paul Pogba and Serge Gnabry, amongst others, have struggled to achieve game time at big clubs in the early stages of their career but have gone on to have excellent careers.
Let us hope that this will be the same in the case of Tammy Abraham, a young striker frozen out of a goal-shy Thomas Tuchel-led Chelsea team. The biggest indictment at the lack of faith that Tuchel has in Abraham was for all to see (or, not) in the FA Cup final, where the 23-year-old was left out of the matchday squad entirely – despite scoring four goals in three games to get them there.
This was not the first time the German coach had done this by any means, but leaving him out of a FA Cup game, a competition that Abraham had contributed to already this season, felt particularly harsh and bewildering. It does not help the Chelsea academy product’s case that Kai Havertz has found form as a centre-forward in recent weeks, scoring goals aplenty in the league.
It is no surprise then to see Abraham linked to a host of Premier League clubs. He has a scoring pedigree at a young age; he will have no shortage of suitors. Where, out of the most regularly linked clubs, would Abraham suit the most? Let us take a closer look…
Tammy Abraham to Leicester City
Now, wouldn’t this be poetic justice; join the team that he wasn’t afforded an opportunity against in the FA Cup final. Leicester City have been keenly aware of their need to replace the greatest player in their history, Jamie Vardy, for a few seasons now.
It just so happens that the 34-year-old had not slowed down in goalscoring terms until this very season. 13 goals – albeit six from the penalty spot – and nine assists represents a decent return but is evidence of a waning role for the veteran striker. Would Abraham make a good fold for Vardy?
Recent game weeks has seen a switch to a 3-4-1-2 for Brendan Rodgers’ side, with Kelechi Iheanacho in excellent goalscoring form as a partner to Vardy up top. In these matches, Iheanacho has been the primary source of goals, with Vardy running the channels to create space for the Nigerian to offer a threat in and around the box.
For example, in Leicester’s recent league victory against Manchester United where Iheanacho took four shots to Vardy’s zero, or against West Ham, where Iheanacho produced six shots to Vardy’s two efforts. This could suit Abraham nicely, who has demonstrated excellent movement in the past, as well as decent short passing and an improving proficiency with his back to goal which bodes well in link-up play.
Both Iheanacho and Abraham also have the ability to forge opportunities out of nothing, too, with Abraham’s third and final goal against Wolves last season springing to mind here. To refresh your memory, this was the goal where he spins Connor Coady by momentarily pausing his dribble, going again, and smashing the ball into the bottom-left. He scored in similar style away at Arsenal last season too.
The main issue with this move, if Leicester are to stick with two up top, is that Abraham has never played in a system with two strikers upfront, or at least for a prolonged period where he sustained good form. It would take some time to adjust, get used to not being the sole focal point, and sharing those central spaces of the pitch with another player who can score goals too.
Tammy Abraham to West Ham United
This year’s surprise of the season, David Moyes’ West Ham are the surprising candidate for European football. This could have been foreseen towards the end of last season, post-pandemic football, where Michail Antonio struck the form of his career as a striker, truly redefining the term ‘the complete-forward’ in the process.
Their great performances this season have been signified by a forward contingent consisting of on-loan Jesse Lingard, the aforementioned Antonio, Jarrod Bowen, and a few others. Antonio, however, has not always been available this season, reaching just over 1,800 minutes at the time of writing, and with Sébastien Haller now an Ajax player, there is no recognised number nine waiting in the wings.
There are a striking number of similarities between the goals that Antonio has scored and the ones that Abraham has. They are both predicated on clever little movements inside the box, but most remarkably, a lions share of them are from one or two touches.
A good proportion of Antonio’s goals have come from waiting at the far post for a delivery to be lofted over, and he has the physical prowess to nip in front of or outjump his opposing defender. This is something that 6’3” Abraham is also capable of. His frame is slight, but he has demonstrated against several opponents an ability to read the movement of a ball in the air smartly to score many goals.
In fact, Abraham shoots more often with his head than Antonio (36% of his efforts compared to Antonio’s 17%), so in that sense, West Ham would have a more direct option if needed.
Inside the six-yard area, Abraham is slightly more wasteful with his chances compared with Antonio. Missed opportunities against West Ham, Sheffield United, and Everton come to mind where he really should be scoring, while Antonio thinks less in these moments, allowing him to be more clinical.
Creatively, Antonio also exceeds Abraham in this regard – with far more assists to his name as a striker. Just like Vardy, Antonio is willing to run the channels and create space for team-mates, most noticeably for Lingard since his January arrival. Off the ball, Abraham is a willing presser, and his 30% pressure success rate last season demonstrates his understanding of his defensive responsibilities compared to Antonio who completed just 23% in the same season.
Abraham would not necessarily be a direct upgrade on Antonio, but there are minutes to be shared here, and it would give West Ham options to choose from.
Tammy Abraham to Aston Villa
A return to Villa has also been on the cards, after his exceptional loan spell at Villa Park in the 2018/19 season. Much like West Ham, Villa have gone beyond where many pre-season predictions had pegged them to be this term, currently sitting in 11th position with two games to go. But being four points behind Leeds United does not bode well for their top-half chances.
They started the season in rich form, striving for European places, but the injury sustained by Jack Grealish derailed their season in February. Heading into the new season, however, with a fully fit Grealish locked down to a long-term deal, Villa will be a dangerous proposition to contend with.
Ollie Watkins, the club’s record signing at an initial £28 million fee, has been a mainstay as the side’s number nine this season, contributing to 18 goals in 35 appearances, and this rises to 21 goals and assists in all competitions. In a sense, he has been undroppable for them this season, not only for his direct goal contributions but thanks to his all-around play.
He asks questions of the opposition backline regularly with his relentless, athletic running. As a defender, if you only have to defend what is in front of you, you feel comfortable and safe, but far less so when players exploit the space in behind you and your team-mates. When we think about progressive carries, Watkins dwarfs Abraham in this sense.
While Watkins completes 3.6 per 90, Abraham succeeds with only 1.1 this term, a drop-off from his two last season, however. This is somewhere that Abraham would have to improve upon tremendously, as it is vital to the way that Villa have attacked during this season.
Outside of that, from a shooting perspective, we understand that Abraham is slightly more clinical. His 19% conversion rate is greater than Watkins’ 13%, so he is less wasteful with his opportunities, whilst being a couple of years younger than 25-year-old Watkins as well. Abraham also has a bit more experience with top-level football than Watkins.
Nevertheless, it would be extremely harsh to drop Watkins at this stage, after a great debut campaign for the Villains. This season, Keinan Davis has been the substitute for Watkins late on during the game, but to limited effect, with just one goal and one assist to his name, but this is greater than Abraham’s record as a substitute this season, scoring zero goals and recording one assist in 13 sub appearances.
One thing is for sure, Abraham would allow Villa to properly rest Watkins as they have not been able to this term, but is that what Abraham needs to be at this stage of his career now? He might as well stay at Chelsea if that were to be the case.
Where next for Tammy Abraham?
A loan move to West Ham feels most suitable out of these choices for all parties, which also happens to be the strongest rumour doing the rounds at the moment. It would allow the 23-year-old to rack up a good number of minutes in the league, and probably Europe. There is also potential for him to displace Antonio permanently in the starting line-up. Out of the three options, West Ham feels the most suitable to his playing style, leading to the highest chance of success for the English striker in the immediacy.
Tammy Abraham is a great goal-scorer that has had a strong record at just about every club he has played at. His penalty box movement and excellent athletic profile have been key to his successes so far.
Tammy Abraham offers a lot less than many other strikers in terms of ball-carrying and creativity.