Malo Gusto on deciding to move to Chelsea: “There’s nothing that told me it wasn’t possible”

In a recent interview with L’Équipe, Chelsea right back Malo Gusto (20) discussed why he decided to move to Chelsea considering the competition, his feelings after leaving Lyon and the fans’ reaction, and adapting to life in the Premier League as a right back. 

The French U21 international signed for Chelsea in January 2023 for a combined package worth €40m. However, he spent the last 6 months of last season on loan at Lyon. Many were surprised that he made the move to Chelsea considering the competition of Reece James and his relative inexperience despite playing 61 times for OL. When asked about deciding to join Chelsea, he said: “There’s nothing that told me: no, it’s not possible. There was a voice that said to me: you can, so why would you say no? Is there a great player in your place? Yes, but you can be a great player too. It’s a challenge. It’s a healthy battle.”

Signing for Chelsea when Reece James is the established right back and now club captain would seem a risk for many players but the 20-year-old has embraced the competition and has a good relationship with the England international. When asked about his decision to go into direct competition with James he said, “I’m not stupid or crazy. I knew before coming that Reece James is one of the best players in his position. We get on very well. He talks to me a lot. We are in a big club, there must be good players in each position. The reason I chose Chelsea is because I have a plan. I know what I’m doing.”

The Premier League is full of talent at right back with Gusto now added to the list, but adapting to the league is not always an easy task for young players. Gusto commented on how he plans to be a full back at the highest level and the quality in the Premier League saying, “I learned to love defending. A full-back is above all that. I’ve looked a lot at how Daniel Alves, Kyle Walker, and Trent Alexander-Arnold approach the position. However, I don’t want to imitate them. My identity is to add intensity, to achieve attacking and defensive foot-races, to be complete. Being a full-back is that for me.”

Lyon have seen several players from their academy leave the club in the past two transfer windows, with Castello Lukeba and Bradley Barcola both following in the footsteps of Gusto this summer. The departures have come much to the dismay of fans. When asked about the reactions of fans to academy graduates leaving the club being unfair, the Chelsea defender said, “Unfair, I don’t know. All I want to say is that it hurts. We are young people, we grew up in Lyon, and we have always loved the club despite what people may believe. When I, Castello, and Bradley leave, it responds to a plan, an ambition. It’s nothing against OL at all.”

As an established starter for Les Espoirs, Gusto has his sights set on playing for Les Bleus in the future. When asked about his chances to be in Didier Deschamps’ squad for EURO 2024, he said “Is the door open? I don’t know. But if the question is whether I think I could be in this position one day, the answer is yes. I work for this. I’m not obsessed. But I would be filled with an immense pride to be there.”

GFFN | Liam Wraith

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