The next man up for Chelsea: Center forward Mason Burstow

LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 09: Mason Burstow of Charlton Athletic shoots during the Emirates FA Cup Third Round match between Charlton Athletic v Norwich City at The Valley on January 09, 2022 in London, England. (Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 09: Mason Burstow of Charlton Athletic shoots during the Emirates FA Cup Third Round match between Charlton Athletic v Norwich City at The Valley on January 09, 2022 in London, England. (Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images) /

Just over three months ago, Chelsea signed former Charlton Athletic academy player Mason Burstow. A day after the signing, the 18-year-old signed back with League One side Charlton Athletic for the rest of the season on loan. He joins a long line of Blues’ youth players to have played for the club, including Conor Gallagher and Ian Maatsen. It was Chelsea’s second signing of the transfer window, Derby County’s Dylan Williams signed for the Blues and currently plays on the U23 team. Burstow is a lengthy striker who uses his size to win balls in the air. At the young age of 18, Burstow has plenty of time to get better when it comes to finishing in the final third.

After letting Tammy Abraham leave for Roma over the summer, and now seeing him succeed in Serie A, Chelsea should take a look at its youth players that play in the top half of the field. Record signing Romelu Lukaku has without a doubt underperformed since his arrival, and the Blues may need some help ameliorating the center forward position. This club has been known to struggle in the finishing department, and if Burstow continues to show his quality over the next few years, he could get a chance to improve it.

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Striker Mason Burstow looks to be an important piece for Chelsea in the future

The youngster is currently under contract in west London until 2025, giving him plenty of time to grow as both a player and a professional. In October of 2020, Burstow joined Charlton from National League South side Welling United. He made his debut for the Addicks’ senior team in August of 2021 in the EFL Cup, scoring on his first touch in professional football. Burstow is not the quickest striker out there, but he has proven he can finish with both feet in the third tier of English football. The 18-year-old from London is not ready to suit up for the Chelsea senior team any time soon, but with progression and a few more years under his belt, Burstow has the potential to do great things for this club.

Charlton Athletic academy manager Steve Avory spoke about what he saw in Burstow just a few years ago, stating,

"“What I saw when he played against us was that there was a profile about him that I certainly liked and you look for in a striker … Athletic, tall, pace and a very good work ethic. That caught my attention on the night, as well as his ability on the ball … He looked a goal threat against us in that friendly. He had Chelsea interest as well, so we had to act quickly.”"

Burstow struggled at first, as it took time for him to get acclimated to academy football. His quality and intelligence allowed him to absorb as much information as possible in a short amount of time. In the EFL Trophy this season, Burstow netted three goals to go along with two assists in just five matches in that competition. Even though Charlton is having a down year and currently sits in 15th in League One following a seventh-place finish last season, the Chelsea loanee has been nothing short of a positive.

Burstow looks like one of the most relaxed players on the pitch, even at such a young age. He is a player who displays versatility a center forward. He has the ability to link up with players behind him and run after a through ball toward the goal. Burstow is known for being an individual with a great attitude who does not overthink things during big moments. The bright lights of senior football have not been overwhelming for a kid who doesn’t turn 19 until the beginning of August. It may take a few more years, but for a team that has struggled to find goals recently, Burstow is an extremely high-potential player that has the ability to lead an attack in the future.

It will be interesting to see what Thomas Tuchel sees in him when his loan comes to a close at the end of the season. Chelsea will most likely send him out on loan again, possibly even to a Championship side to see how he reacts to higher-level senior football. Burstow is younger than Blues’ academy player Tino Anjorin, and while Anjorin has been marvelous for the Blues at the academy level, Burstow could get that chance next season on the U23 team. The better-known player around the Chelsea youth is Anjorin, and for good reason, but people should keep their eyes on Burstow seeing that he has the potential to revolutionize an attack.

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What do you think the future holds for Burstow with the Blues? Let us know your thoughts in the comments or on Twitter!