Benoit Badiashile is a Chelsea player and will be one for a long, long time if he sees out the contract he’s signed, with it lasting a whopping seven and a half years.
The Premier League side signed him from Monaco for around £35m in a bid to add some depth and youth to their backline.
Here’s everything you need to know about him.
A chapter in Monaco’s history best left collecting dust on the shelf, Thierry Henry’s reign in charge of his former side ended abruptly, and with a whimper. The players weren’t playing for him, thus he tried his hand at injecting some youth into his failing side, one of whom was Badiashile.
Just 17 years old at the time, Henry thrust him into starting lineup with the simple task of facing Paris Saint-Germain in November 2018. They lost 4-0. They were utterly outclassed. Talk about a baptism of fire, eh?
He was able to bounce back though, quickly establishing himself as a first-team regular at the heart of the Monaco defence.
In the four years that followed, he was an important player for his club, making 135 appearances in all competitions and attracting the interest of top clubs in the process including Manchester United and Real Madrid.
He also caught the eye of Didier Deschamps, who gave him his France debut in September 2022 but didn’t include him in his 2022 World Cup squad.
Henry may not have had a particularly positive impact on Monaco during his time in charge – to be frank, he was rubbish – but he did at least have a positive impact on one of their players.
The legendary striker gave Badiashile his senior debut and took him under his wing, trying to help the 17-year-old develop both as both a player and a person.
This was very much evident during a press conference when the manager gave off proper Dad vibes, giving his player the death stare of all death stares after the defender forgot to tuck in his chair when leaving.
The tough-love approach clearly worked for Badiashile, with him becoming a top player and putting that partly down to Henry.
“He made me progress so much on and off the pitch,” he said of his former coach. “He passed on simple things to me, so simple that you never think about them on the field. These simple things are details that allow you to move forward.
“He explained to me how to handle an attacker. He is a former great striker so he knew what he was talking about.”
Badiashile is a complete defender, ticking all the boxes in terms of physical attributes but comfortable with the ball at his feet too.
Standing at 6’4, he’s excellent in the air and is rarely outmuscled, and is a match for most opponents when it comes to pace too.
That latter asset is particularly important as he likes to move forward when he has the ball and is fast enough to get back quickly if need be.
In possession, he’s not one to play it safe by any means, renowned for the long diagonal passes he makes with his left foot to the right wing.
At Monaco, he almost exclusively played as a left centre-back in a back four, but being quick, left-footed and good with the ball, he has everything it takes to play on the left of a back three too.
Badiashile doesn’t have any glaring weaknesses but unsurprisingly given his age, he’s not yet the finished product.
His tendency to be more ambitious and expansive when in possession adds a lot to his game but it does lead to him making errors, occasionally giving the ball away in dangerous areas. With him likely to be afforded less time on the ball in the Premier League, he’ll need to work on this.
Another issue is the fact that he’s almost exclusively played on the left-hand side of defence and has next to no experience playing on the right. With Kalidou Koulibaly preferring to play on the left too, that may make it difficult for him to play when Chelsea play a back-four.
Badiashile has been open about the fact that he’s naturally a quiet, introverted character, and he doesn’t think that will damage his career.
When asked by Onze Mondial in 2020 whether he felt his calmer nature was one a top footballer could possess and still succeed, he pointed to compatriot and new team-mate N’Golo Kante, who he feels is similar to him in that regard.
“We can see N’Golo Kante,” he said. “He is calm and introverted and that does not prevent him from being one of the best midfielders in the world.”