Luka Modric has had a lot of attention over the last few weeks. Chelsea need a creative midfielder, that much is evident however at £30m is he really worth it considering that we have, what many Chelsea fans tip to be, a Chelsea star? At a very young age Josh McEachran has already gained a reputation as a future Chelsea regular, however his age and relative lack of experience to his elder teammates will be a hinderance, what is undeniable is McEachran’s future star potential.
The first thing to note in a comparison between the two is the similar styles of play that the two players have, in fact if Chelsea did indeed buy Luka Modric eventually and McEachran wasn’t loaned out then it is arguable that they would be fighting for the same position in the Chelsea side, whether it be in a 4-2-3-1 or a 4-3-3, they both pass and move, creating space for themselves and others with incisive passing. Both like to operate all over the pitch apart from one key difference as the chalkboard below may highlight.
As we can see from the chalkboards Luka Modric is a player who likes to make long distance passes, this isn’t necessarily the case with McEachran, it seems that he is good at having the ball in tight areas and playing one-twos which create space for both himself and the player that he is passing the ball too. It’s arguable that Modric is therefore better at ‘cutting open defences’ with his longer distance passing and his accurate passing rate, however this is not to say that McEachran doesn’t have accurate passing, although not featuring as much as Chelsea fans would have liked last season he still had a 90% pass conversion, an impressive figure for someone so young playing at a high level. In terms of defensively Modric seems to be more inclined to tackle and intercept, with 60 and 88 of each respectively, McEachran only has had 9 and 2 respectively but of course his limited time on the pitch needs to be taken in to account.
These two players are very similar, much more similar than most would think, many people haven’t seen enough of McEachran to have an accurate assessment of his qualities as a footballer. I was at Stamford Bridge for his first senior appearance against Newcastle in the Carling Cup and was mightily impressed at his composure, his accurate passing and the way in which he created space for others. At 17 there is very much time for him to improve and will need first team experience to do so. In terms of the original question, it is pretty obvious that Modric at the moment is the better player however Josh certainly has enough quality himself to challenge Modric for first team football if Modric comes to Stamford Bridge.