Jose Mourinho wants to build Chelsea into a long-term contender. The Blues boss has made that clear since returning to Stamford Bridge this summer, recently finalizing a deal to bring teenage defender-midfielder Cristian Cuevas to England, according to The Mirror's Sam Stevens.
The 18-year-old Chilean has starred for club team O'Higgins in Chile since 2011 and has seen a significant amount of action with Chile's Under-20 squad, making four appearances for his country at the U-20 World Cup in Turkey earlier this summer.
Despite the fact that he's elevated himself to the Premier League and earned a five-year deal, according to ESPNFC on Twitter, Cuevas remains a relatively unknown prospect:
Chelsea have announced the signing of Chilean left-sided player Cristian Cuevas from O'Higgins on a five-year deal. #CFC— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) July 23, 2013
Here we'll break down the teenager's game and take a look at what Chelsea fans can expect in the coming years.
A native of Rancagua, Chile, the up-and-coming left-back has an immense amount of talent and a bright future ahead of him. He clearly impressed Chelsea enough on his trial to earn a contract with the club.
He's only made 10 appearances for O'Higgins since May 2011 (debuting as a 16-year-old), but has a dozen caps for Chile's U-20 team, helping lead La Rojita to the quarterfinals before being knocked out by Ghana.
Cuevas played over 350 minutes for O'Higgins this past season, starting four matches and coming on as a substitute in three others.
Cuevas' game is built on versatility. Although he plays primarily as a left-back, he possesses the ability to move forward and star as a midfielder. It wouldn't be surprising if Mourinho has plans to utilize his newest addition on the left flank in the future.
Cristian Cuevas will become ________ at Chelsea.
At 5'9", there's nothing above average about Cuevas' size, but he's still able to play with power and force on the ball.
He can also be a threat to score, recording three goals with the Chilean U-20 squad. Even more encouraging, Cuevas shows a desire to get forward and attack, which is aided by his solid technical ability. He's an excellent ball striker and shows great anticipation when making runs into the box.
It's likely that Mourinho will use Cuevas on the left-hand side of the pitch, potentially as a winger who can put balls into the box and trouble defenders with his creativity and skill.
Keep in mind that Cuevas is months away from his 19th birthday and that it'll take time before Mourinho is comfortable calling on him to play a consistent role. For now, Blues fans can be excited for what the future holds in midfield.
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