It was in the final hours of the 2021 summer transfer window that Callum Hudson-Odoi went to Thomas Tuchel and asked to leave Chelsea on loan.
Borussia Dortmund had made an offer for the winger and the prospect of playing regular first-team football with a club in the Champions League understandably appealed.
Tuchel did not grant Hudson-Odoi’s request.
Part of the reason was he needed cover for Reece James at right wing-back, something the academy graduate had done during the second half of the previous campaign.
London understands, is Tuchel wanted to continue to oversee the then 20-year-old’s development at close quarters.
Was that the right call? With the benefit of hindsight, no.
Almost 12 months on, Hudson-Odoi remains stuck in a holding pattern at Stamford Bridge.
It’s why he’s again keen to leave Chelsea.
Dortmund remain interested, although a permanent move would likely require Hudson-Odoi to take a pay cut.
Premier League clubs Southampton and Leicester City are considering loan offers, and there are plenty of European sides monitoring his situation.
In November, Hudson-Odoi will celebrate his 22nd birthday.
It is an age at which an increasing number of players are regulars for club and country, an age at which many have realised their potential and have become household names.
In the case of Hudson-Odoi, his path from academy star to Chelsea first team has been far from smooth.
Watch clips of Hudson-Odoi from during his time in the club’s Under-18s and it’s impossible to deny his natural talent.
The confidence in his own game – and importantly – his own body was absolute and it enabled the winger to produce the sublime on a consistent basis.
His early outings in the senior side were encouraging too; then came the interest from Bayern Munich.
That transfer pursuit has come to define Hudson-Odoi’s early career.
The Bundesliga giants pushed hard to sign him in January 2019 and went as far as to offer £25million.
Two months later, Hudson-Odoi injured his Achilles and missed almost six months of football.
It was during his period on the sidelines that the Blues convinced him to sign a lucrative five-year contract.
Still, Bayern remained keen and in the summer of 2020, they offered to loan Hudson-Odoi from Chelsea with a £70million option to buy.
In the two seasons since, Hudson-Odoi wasn’t able to crack the 2,000-minute barrier for Chelsea.
It’s little wonder that his development has slowed, that he hasn’t hit the heights expected.
Yes, injury has played its part but so has a lack of regular game time.
It’s why Hudson-Odoi has to be allowed to depart this summer – although it would be foolish of Chelsea to let him leave permanently despite the fact he has only two years left on his contract.
Nobody knows quite what Hudson-Odoi can become, perhaps even the man himself.
It’s time for everyone to find out once and for all.
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