Dylan Williams may have only broken into Derby County’s first team this season with less than 10 matches under his belt yet the teenager is attracting interest across England. Reigning European champions Chelsea are among his admirers.
Sky Sports and Jokaroom reports that the Blues have had a bid accepted for the 18-year-old. It is being speculated that Williams will join the academies once a deal is completed and not immediately link up with the first team.
Derby boss, Wayne Rooney, is said to have confirmed Williams’ imminent departure. He said: “We have agreed on a fee with a Premier League club for Dylan Williams. I couldn’t stand in the way of his opportunity.”
Rooney stopped short of naming the bidding club, but both the Athletic and Sky Sports have now confirmed it was Chelsea.
With their offer accepted, talks over finalising the move are now said to be at an ‘advanced stage’.
But why the fuss over a teenager yet to complete a full season at senior level? Here’s all you should know about Dylan Williams.
Birth and early life
Williams was born on 13 September 2003. He began his career at Wolverhampton Wanderers, progressing superbly through the ranks. Ahead of the 2020/21 campaign, Williams moved to Derby as a 16-year-old.
Originally, he was expected to bid his time with the youth teams. But in little time, the teenager broke into the U23s and soon after, the main team.
Williams first outing for the club was with the U18s against Sunderland. He grabbed his first goal in the following match, a 3-2 win against Middlesbrough.
Williams added a further two goals to his tally with a brace in the 5-1 victory against Blackburn, and his performances earned him a call-up to the Under-23s, where he instantly became a regular.
There, the youngster proved that he could perform in a much higher age group by January, with goals and assists in games against Leicester and Manchester United. Williams was picked to face Chorley in the FA Cup at the age of just 16.
As Covid forced the entire first-team to isolate, Williams was one of many academy players thrown in at the deep end. He held his own once again. The 18-year-old made his senior debut for Derby in the Carabao Cup first-round tie against Salford City in August, with real money casinos new zealand backing the game at the time.
He has added seven more first-team appearances, an impressive tally considering he only turned 18 in September.
Playing position/ style
Williams is primarily a left full-back. However, he is adept in midfield and in an advanced role as he has proven to be versatile for Rooney’s team.
Williams has a little bit of everything that the modern full-back needs to go all the way in the game. The left-back marries defensive sensibilities with attacking intent to perfection.
Sprint speed, work rate, and intelligence are the best three ingredients Williams has to offer. He possesses a very good pace. This allows him to be an even better player. He can make decisions at a fast pace, anticipate attacking situations, and attack players at speed.
Like top fullbacks, Williams has an excellent eye for a pass – something incredibly vital for any attacking left-back that allows them to impact any big game. He can draw players in with his direct dribbling, this often opens up space for him to exploit.
Williams is a clean and composed defender too. He has a monstrous work rate and is a great ball winner. All these qualities make him a star for the future.
Why is Chelsea after him?
The Blues are in the market for a left-back following Ben Chilwell’s long-term injury. Marcos Alonso is currently the club’s only recognized left-sided defender. Although Williams is not expected anywhere near the first team immediately, he could potentially be the long-term solution.
Left wing-back has become something of a problem at Stamford Bridge. The Development Squad has gone without a natural in the role for much of the past two seasons. Samuel Iling-Junior’s move to Juventus in the summer of 2020 is partly to blame for that, as are the illness and injuries suffered by Alex Kpakpe over the past 12 months.
Several members of the academy have filled in at wing-back as a result. George Nunn, a striker by trade, spent much of last term in the position and has deputised in matches this season. Meanwhile, Harvey Vale, who has made two senior appearances under Tuchel, impressed as a wing-back last season but is a number ten by trade.