In a move that would see their attacking midfield options multiply even further this summer, Chelsea have been linked with a move for Marseille talent Florian Thauvin.
According to the Express' Ben Jefferson, the Blues are hunting for the 21-year-old's services alongside north London pair Arsenal and Tottenham, but it's a deal that doesn't warrant Jose Mourinho's attention at present.
Or at least not with the Blues' squad in its current form. Thauvin has been heralded by some as one of the most promising assets among this emerging French generation, but Chelsea now need to turn their policy toward needs and requirements, not just wants.
In his report, Jefferson quotes Marseille president Vincent Labrune in speaking highly of his winger-cum-attacking midfielder with French radio station RMC:
"He is one of the greatest talents of his generation. OM have great hopes for him. I hope this year will be Thauvin's year. He's done the perfect preparation. I'm hoping he will explode."
And explode he might, but his talents aren't quite fitting for Stamford Bridge as of yet. In recent years, Chelsea have spun an awkward balance of signing players in their prime and players who could one day be great, arguably acquiring too many of the latter for their own good.
Do Chelsea need a player of Thauvin's kind?
Granted, Thauvin may be above the standard of some of those who have toiled away in the club's reserves and while out on loan in recent years. However, he too would struggle in displacing the likes of Eden Hazard, Willian, Andre Schurrle, Mohamed Salah, Cesc Fabregas and Oscar.
And in a way, it would be even more of a waste to see his momentum curtailed at such a pivotal point in his career. Now, when he's reaching prominence at the Stade Velodrome and consistent first-team football will play such a pivotal role in his development.
Tom Williams of Agence France-Presse has previously shown that the French population see others as possessing more promise than Thauvin, too:
Antoine Griezmann gets 76% of votes in L'Equipe poll on young players most deserving of a France call-up. Kurzawa 10%; Digne/Thauvin 6%.— Tom Williams (@tomwfootball) February 27, 2014
Looking toward the alternatives Mourinho has already, the evidence is even more clear as to why Thauvin should be ignored. At present, the club have six players out on loan who can play a similar role, five of whom are aged 21 or under.
Lucas Piazon (20), Cristian Cuevas (19), Mario Pasalic (19), Bertrand Traore (18), Thorgan Hazard (21) and Gael Kakuta (23) each still hold some level of promise as Chelsea players and would only be blighted further in their progress with yet more competition.
Of course, Chelsea's sole aim isn't to develop young talent, but Financial Fair Play, as Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City have shown, is beginning to put a greater emphasis on the need for cost-efficient, homegrown stars succeeding.
Last season, Thauvin scored eight goals and crafted 31 scoring opportunities in 31 Ligue 1 appearances for Marseille, per Squawka.
For an asset mainly focused on construction for others, the numbers are good but are hardly of the same brand that, for example, Hazard was producing during his days at Lille before his Chelsea move.
Thauvin, though capable of flash-in-the-pan brilliance, also possesses a trait that Goal.com's Robin Bairner indicates may not suit the west London outfit:
@kinghenrythefif No, I don't think so, but he has a chance. Thauvin is too inconsistent and hasn't performed well enough in big matches.— Robin Bairner (@RBairner) March 7, 2014
In time, Thauvin may mature into a product Chelsea will come back for, the notion being that he'll be more capable of competing against the club's big guns for a place of his own.
However, at present, the youngster should be allowed to continue in his current vein of form, lest he be caught in a form of limbo that has so often disrupted the trajectories of other potential superstars.