Xavier Mbuyamba insists a move to FC Volendam is not a step down.
The former Chelsea youngster, once compared to Virgil van Dijk, was keen to leave Stamford Bridge having been denied a loan move away from the club in January.
On deadline day, that wish was granted, and the 20-year-old signed a three-year deal with the Eredivisie side last month.
There were high expectations of the Dutchman behind the scenes at Cobham but an ascent into the first-team never materialised.
Mbuyamba was included in only one matchday squad after leaving Barcelona’s famed La Masia academy for Chelsea in 2020.
Volendam sit third from bottom in the Eredivisie but the defender will hope regular first-team football aids his development, having made his debut during a 3-2 loss at home to Go Ahead Eagles on Friday.
Speaking to NOS, Mbuyamba said: “Many people think that Chelsea to FC Volendam is a step down, but I see it as a step up.
“I go from U23 football to the Eredivisie. If I play a lot, I can develop well. That’s it really. There was interest from Eredivisie clubs, and I had a very good feeling here.
“For my development, I chose FC Barcelona. I learned a lot there. I actually wanted to go straight to Chelsea, but they got a transfer ban.
“Then I went the following year. There I experienced a lot and developed myself.
“I want to play one, two, three seasons here. As soon as I’m ready, I’ll hopefully make the step to the top of the Eredivisie.”