Chelsea kid Jude Soonsup-Bell was scouted by Tyrone Mings’ dad and idolised Cristiano Ronaldo growing up
Chelsea youngster Jude Soonsup-Bell is set to join London rivals Tottenham before the transfer window closes on Tuesday.
Despite spending seven years at Stamford Bridge and making one senior appearance, the youngster has fallen down the pecking order in west London and Spurs are set to pinch the talented teenager.
The centre-forward – who has also been wanted by Manchester City – is highly regarded at the Blues academy but is now in the last six months of his contract.
And Spurs appear to have won the race for him, offering him a “long-term route to the first-team via loans from next season”, much like they did for young striker Dane Scarlett, who is on loan at Portsmouth.
Born in Chippenham, Wiltshire, Soonsup-Bell came through Swindon Town’s academy as a midfielder.
However, after just three years on the county ground, he was snapped up by Chelsea aged 12 after being spotted by Adie, the father of blues scout and England star Tyrone Mings.
So, what’s Soonsup-Bell’s story so far and what made Spurs so interested in him?
talkSPORT.com has all the information about the 19-year-old.
“Growing up, my idol was Cristiano Ronaldo,” Soonsup-Bell, who owned both Manchester United and Real Madrid shirts as a child, told Changsuek YouTube channel in 2021.
“I watched clips and skills of him when I was younger and looked at his all-around game. I used to try to replicate his skills and what he did in games.”
The youngster also revealed he looked up to Chelsea legends Didier Drogba and Fernando Torres, whom he considers some of the best forwards in football history.
And during his time at the academy, he also drew inspiration from former Blues goalscorer Olivier Giroud – notably his volleys – and the finish of Tammy Abraham, now the Roma star.
POSITION AND PLAY STYLE
As he idolized Ronaldo growing up, the decision to transition him from midfielder to forward at Cobham proved to be the right one.
One performance that showed the teenager’s natural goalscoring ability was when he scored four goals in the 8-1 FA Youth Cup win over Barnsley in November 2020.
Those goals made him the first Chelsea player in 59 years to score four goals in the competition.
“Chelsea saw something that Swindon didn’t,” the starlet’s older brother told Goal in 2021. “But that technical side that he learned in midfield and that selfless side that helps him as a striker.
— Jude Soonsup-Bell (@JudeSoonsupBell) November 30, 2020
“Chelsea have seen that he can score goals but can do more to quickly mold him into a centre-forward.
“He’s athletic, as a number 9 should be, and he’s quite tall and fast. But for me, his best quality is his intelligence both on and off the ball. He has the brains for the sport, is calm on the ball.
“He’s right footed but he’s worked on his left foot playing football at school for years and now he would say he doesn’t have a weaker foot. The sporting side also comes into play more now.”
The teenager has also found the net with a series of overhead kicks and heels in recent seasons.
Just two months after appearing in the FA Youth Cup, Soonsup-Bell signed his first professional contract at the age of 17.
Fast forward to the end of the year and former manager Thomas Tuchel gave him his full senior debut in the League Cup as the Blues beat local rivals Brentford 2-0.
Soonsup-Bell was just eight when captain Cesar Azpilicueta – who featured in the game against the Bees – made his Chelsea debut in 2012 but he impressed in his 45-minute performance.
And the teenager sacrificed a lot to get to this point. He originally made four-hour round trips to Chelsea training when he first signed before eventually moving to a host family closer to London.
However, since Tuchel handed him his first minutes for Chelsea first-team, Soonsup-Bell has been pushed down the club’s pecking order and features in the club’s Premier League 2 squad.
The forward has scored 29 goals in 78 appearances for the various youth teams, two of them in his 14 appearances this season.
Although the teenager is not currently a part of Chelsea’s first-team plans, he has made it with England’s youth teams.
The youngster, who is also eligible to play for Thailand thanks to his grandfather, started for the U19s in a friendly against Italy and scored last season as well as in the U17s and U18s.
He is also the third-best scorer in England Under-16s with six goals in nine games, just behind Manchester United’s Jadon Sancho with six in eight and Aston Villa’s Louie Barry with seven in ten.
So it’s easy to see why club scouts across Europe – including Spurs – regard him as one of the best forwards in his age group. Only time will tell if Chelsea have missed out on promising homegrown talent.