by Tom Lees - 15th December 2015
When Chelsea announced in the summer of 2015 that they had reached an agreement with Fluminense of the transfer of forward Kenedy for around £6.3 million, the surprise wasn’t that they signed the young Brazilian, but that they did not send him on loan to Vitesse as they did his compatriot Nathan. Clearly manager José Mourinho had seen something in the exciting youngster that he felt would improve his Chelsea squad in the immediate future, and as such Kenedy has featured in a number of games for the Blues, although mostly as a substitute.
Born Robert Kenedy Nunes do Nascimento, he was actually named after former US Attorney State General Robert F. Kennedy, Kenedy started his career at Fluminense and first made a name for himself, as a 16-year-old, for the club’s youth team at the Al Kass International Cup, held in Doha, helping the side win the trophy, beating PSG in the final. His reputation was further enhanced in the 2013 South American Under 17 Championships held in Argentina, young Kenedy would score six goals in eight games and help his team to third place in the tournament.
Already at such a young age, comparisons from the media were levelled towards the youngster, ranging from Arjen Robben to Cristiano Ronaldo, such comparisons were dismissed by Kenedy although he would admit that a move to Europe in the future was in his plans, and ideally a move to Chelsea. After some fine performances for the Fluminense first team, this ambition was realised in 2015, the London club scouts clearly impressed with his skill, pace and ability to hit long range powerful shots.
What has been interesting since his arrival at Stamford Bridge, is how manager José Mourinho has utilised him. Rather than being an attacking outlet, Kenedy has found himself as a wide midfielder, and even occasional left back, this of course isn’t making the most of his obvious ability but what it is teaching him is defensive responsibility, a part of his game that definitely needed attention. So although short term he may not be having the impact he would like, long term Kenedy may become a more complete player because of it.
Bringing a powerful left foot, pace, eye catching skills and a touch of unpredictability to his game, Kenedy is an exciting watch. He is part of a strong pool of players hoping to make the Brazil Olympic team and it will be interesting to see how his career pans out over the next few years. In my opinion Kenedy will be best suited as a forward playing just off the front, being a creative and explosive force at the same time, although the chances to play in this position for Chelsea may be a little limited. 2016 could be a key year in defining his future, with Chelsea currently under achieving and question marks over the management, a squad reshuffle could soon be on the horizon and Kenedy will want to prove that he has what it takes to star for the Blues going forward. He has the talent of course, but having the talent and proving you have it are two different things entirely.