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Enzo Maresca already knows what Chelsea wildcard can offer his team ahead of £20m transfer call

Enzo Maresca will be looking to stamp his mark on his Chelsea team once his appointment as head coach is confirmed
-Credit: (Image: Plumb Images/Leicester City FC via Getty Images)


Omari Hutchinson is going to feature heavily in the headlines this summer after a standout 2023/24 campaign. Linking up with Ipswich Town on a season-long loan deal, the 20-year-old played a pivotal role in the Tractor Boys winning promotion to the Premier League for the first time since 2002.

In total, the starlet contributed with 11 goals and six assists in all competitions for the Suffolk-based club. Initially used off the bench by manager Kieran McKenna, Hutchinson's influence grew as the season wore on and he became one of the first names on their teamsheet in the final few months of the campaign.

Such an influential figure for the team due to his pace, trickery and ability to find the net, Hutchinson and Ipswich went so close to overhauling Leicester City and winning the Championship title in the final month as the Foxes suffered a blip in form. Only one point separated the sides in the final table, with Enzo Maresca's side prevailing in the end after recovering to win three of their final four games.

Now set to take on the Chelsea hotseat following Mauricio Pochettino's Stamford Bridge exit, Maresca and Hutchinson look set to join forces in west London ahead of the 2024/25 campaign. However, that will all depend on the Blues' decision over the exciting attacker as Ipswich are lining up a big-money move for the Redhill-born player.

Ipswich boss McKenna is keen to bring Hutchinson back to Portman Road, with the club readying a £20million offer for his services, sources have told football.london. VfB Stuttgart, Ajax and Feyenoord are amongst the other clubs keeping an eye on the winger's situation ahead of the new term.

Hutchinson is currently contracted to Chelsea until the summer of 2026 after the club triggered a clause to extend his deal by a further 12 months. A move that very much protects his value ahead of a pivotal summer, what comes next for the player and Chelsea remains to be seen.

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Once in place in SW6, Maresca may well have Hutchinson in his plans for next season due to what the winger can offer in the final third. That may all depend on the club's stance regarding the Jamaica international if Ipswich are to submit an offer that the Blues deem acceptable, though.

Hutchinson did make two appearances against Maresca's Leicester side last term, with Ipswich and the Foxes drawing 1-1 on both occasions. A substitute in the two games, the former Arsenal academy player entered the fray late on to help Tractor Boys earn a point at the death in both fixtures.

In the first meeting between the sides at Portman Road on Boxing Day, Hutchinson was only on the pitch for 11 minutes but he had 16 touches of the ball and created one chance. Coming face-to-face with Leicester the following month at the King Power Stadium, the winger this time got 19 minutes in the tank and troubled the hosts as Ipswich pushed on for an equaliser that eventually arrived on the cusp of full-time.

In the East Anglian Daily Times' player ratings, Hutchinson was one of the highest scores for Ipswich on the night after receiving a mark of seven out of 10. They wrote: "Lively once again. A brave performance for a young player against experienced players. Combined well with [Jeremy] Sarmiento and gave Leicester some real problems."

No doubt coming to Maresca's attention that night following a "brave performance" as Ipswich took the game to Leicester in search of an equaliser, it was perhaps in the run-in where the youngster really stood out to the Italian as the Tractor Boys gave their promotion rivals a real fright in the race for Premier League football. From February onwards, Hutchinson became a permanent fixture in McKenna's starting XI and went on to deliver some crucial moments as he contributed goals and assists in five successive games, including two last-minute strikes against West Brom and Rotherham.

His quality was very much on show in the final weeks of the season, with the player scoring two incredible goals in a 3-3 draw away at Hull City as he toyed with Ipswich's opponents. Then, on the final day of the season, Hutchinson was on the scoresheet once again with a goal in the 2-0 win over Huddersfield Town that saw his loan club return to the top table of English football for the first time in 22 years.

Starring in the Championship and now looking to take his sublime form into the 2024/25 season, Chelsea have a big decision to make over Hutchinson. If he is to remain at Stamford Bridge beyond the end of the summer transfer window, Maresca knows exactly what the player can offer his team after an outstanding year in the Championship.