Lens forward Elye Wahi comments on rejecting Chelsea

Elye Wahi has revealed his thought process behind rejecting a transfer to Chelsea during the summer transfer window.

The French Under-21 international had put himself in the sale window with his impressive 29 goals and eight assists across two Ligue 1 campaigns for Montpellier HSC between 2021 and 2023.

Wahi finally signed a five-year contract and moved to Lens, the runners-up from the previous season, for a cost of €35 million.

The 20-year-old was, however, connected with Chelsea for a number of weeks prior to that trade happening since Chelsea was on the lookout for the best young players in European football.

At one point, a transfer seemed more likely than not, but that changed after it became clear that owners Todd Boehly and Clearlake Capital wanted to loan Wahi to the team they had just acquired, Strasbourg.

At the time, it was claimed that Wahi did not believe his career would advance as he would have liked because Montpellier and Strasbourg were thought to be on an equal footing in French football.

In a recent interview with L’Equipe, the player reiterated his position, admitting that he did not see the sense in joining Chelsea if he planned to leave Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea – I didn’t want to go there just for the sake of going, Wahi stated. More so than Chelsea, [Eintracht] Frankfurt was in close proximity.

“I had a conversation with Dino Toppmoller, the manager there. I found it crucial that he speaks French. The wait for Randal Kolo Muani’s departure was too much for them to handle. I don’t look back with remorse.

Since then, Lens has had a challenging start to the season, earning just one point from their first four games in the top division.

Though the latter two games were played away from home, three of their games have been against Rennes, Paris Saint-Germain, and Monaco, respectively.

Before failing to have an impact in his debut start for the team against Monaco, Wahi played the final 32 minutes of the club’s loss to PSG.

In stark contrast, Wahi excelled earlier this week for France’s Under-21 team, scoring twice in a 45-minute replacement cameo against Denmark.