Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall to Chelsea: The Athletic 500 transfer ratings

Chelsea have signed Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall from Leicester City for a £30million ($38m) fee on a contract that takes him up to 2030.

Our writers — experts in transfers, tactics, data and football finance — have come together to rate this summer’s senior Premier League transfers in five categories, with each aspect given a score out of 100, to reach a total score out of 500. Hence, The Athletic 500. The ratings are explained in more detail here (not all transfers will be rated as there may be a lack of data to support an analysis).

Below is our rating for this move.

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Tactical fit — 75/100

A look at how the player fits into his new club tactically, using Sentient Sports’ bespoke tactical-fit model, explained by our tactical expert.

Dewsbury-Hall was the creative heartbeat of Leicester’s midfield last season, contributing 12 goals (from an xG of 10.2) and 14 assists. His ball-carrying, body deception and eye for a final pass made him one of the standout players of the Championship.

Under Enzo Maresca, Chelsea are expected to adopt a 4-3-3 formation with a single pivot, allowing two advanced No 8s to play between the lines and attack the final third. This system is familiar to Dewsbury-Hall, as he played as the left-sided No 8. Maresca’s inverted full-back system gave Dewsbury-Hall attacking responsibilities as part of a midfield box. This puts him in a good position to use his composure in the final third.

As seen below against Southampton in April, Dewsbury-Hall demonstrates his influence on Leicester’s attack. He positions himself between the lines of the opposition’s block and receives a pass before playing a through ball that beats Kyle Walker-Peters, leading to a goal by Abdul Fatawu.


Maresca’s tactical demands of freedom and fluidity for the No 8s unlocked Dewsbury-Hall’s creative potential. His statistics last season support this: 6.73 progressive passes (84th percentile), five shot-creating actions per 90 (98th percentile), and 3.91 progressive carries per 90 (98th percentile).

Below, against Plymouth in April , Dewsbury-Hall displays how he looks to progress the ball. He receives a ball facing away from the attacking third. Pressed by Dan Scarr, he cleverly turns to advance, prompting Adam Forshaw to foul him to prevent an overload.

kdh gif 2

At Chelsea, the movement and positioning of the advanced midfielders will be important to their chance creation, and Dewsbury-Hall’s ability to navigate tight spaces will help. However, there is tough competition for midfield spots at Chelsea, with the likes of Carney Chukwuemeka and Conor Gallagher playing similar roles. Dewsbury-Hall’s left-footedness offers different passing options compared to his peers.

Despite his strengths, Dewsbury-Hall’s pass completion rate of 77.3 per cent (26th percentile) would need to improve. The lower completion rate could be due to his risk-taking nature, which can result in turnovers. Also, he might have to take on a squad role, rather than having consistent minutes.

Dewsbury-Hall is a sensible addition to Chelsea, bringing creativity and familiarity with Maresca’s tactical setup. His playing style aligns well with Chelsea’s system and is expected to integrate into the team.

Gillian Kasirye

Season rating: 84/100

Rating the player over the course of last season, using statistics from The Athletic’s data team.

Dewsbury-Hall had an outstanding campaign with Leicester, starring under Maresca as the East Midlands side won the Championship.

The all-action midfielder started the season as he meant to go on, scoring twice on the opening day as Leicester beat local rivals Coventry City 2-1. He finished with 12 goals, including goals in wins against fellow Midlanders West Bromwich Albion and Birmingham City, and 14 assists.



Chelsea and Dewsbury-Hall: First, why? Second, why? Actually, it makes sense

Dewsbury-Hall was one of only two Leicester players named in the Championship’s best XI and won the club’s men’s player and players’ player of the season awards for his consistently excellent performances.

While his output was excellent throughout the campaign, he grew more familiar with Maresca’s system as the season wore on and learnt to play the central midfield role to his manager’s desires. This should bode well as the pair link up again at Stamford Bridge.

Elias Burke

Gaming rating: 66/100

Rating the player according to Football Manager 2024’s data across both current and potential ability.

Dewsbury-Hall is a player Chelsea fans should be excited about, according to Football Manager.

The 25-year-old joins Chelsea as a Premier League-standard midfielder, with a current ability of 139. This is comparable to Manchester United’s Kobbie Mainoo (136), who recently started for England in their 2-1 round-of-16 win over Slovakia at Euro 2024. On FM24, he’s rated worse than his Chelsea midfield competition in Enzo Fernandez (158), Moises Caicedo (156) and Conor Gallagher (149), but Sports Interactive’s extensive scouting network rates his potential highly.

If Dewsbury-Hall was to reach his potential ability of 165, he’d be Chelsea’s best midfield player (on current rating) and one of the best in the Premier League.

Elias Burke

Financial value rating: 60/100

A four-category summary of the player’s transfer in financial terms — and whether it makes sense for his new club.

Market value — 14/25

Dewsbury-Hall is 25, homegrown and has proven Premier League ability, so an expected fee of £30million is about on par with his market value. It is also in line with other offers for his services. It is not a bargain either, but for a highly rated and coveted midfielder off a strong Championship campaign, this deal feels — pardon the pun— on the money.

Squad cost — 15/25

Amortisation will bring this deal down to around £5million per season. He is one of four deals agreed before June 30 so it doesn’t overly impact the 2024-25 budget, but it is Chelsea’s biggest outlay of the summer so far and part of a delicate PSR approach. Academy player Michael Golding is thought to be joining Leicester for around £5million so that will also reduce this deal’s cost.



How did Premier League sides overcome PSR issues? And can they now spend?

Contract sensibility — 16/25

The Premier League may have changed the rules regarding player amortisation, so a deal can only be spread over a maximum of five years, but that won’t stop Chelsea offering terms beyond that limit. A six-year deal (until 2030) will take Dewsbury-Hall into his early 30s, but is on par with a big investment like this and protects value. It suits all parties.

Resale value — 15/25

At 25, Dewsbury-Hall is not as young as some of Chelsea’s recent recruitment but he’s young enough for another big sale. The only issue is whether he has an N’Golo Kante or Danny Drinkwater-style impact. If the latter, he will struggle to retain value. He also needs to play to do that, and there is a lot of competition in midfield. Also, if he thrives, there is not a huge number of clubs that could buy him for a profit (above £30m spent).

Peter Rutzler

Risk or reward? 63/100

Is there a history of injury or other problems that could crop up and make this deal a bad one in retrospect? Or does the player come with a clean bill of health? Our expert takes a look.

There is much to like about this signing from Chelsea’s perspective.

While Dewsbury-Hall joins a pretty stacked midfield at Chelsea, there is potential for more than one of his competitors to depart. Conor Gallagher, who captained the west London side for much of last season, has been linked with a move away, while youngsters Cesare Casadei, Lesley Ugochukwu and Romeo Lavia failed to nail down places in Mauricio Pochettino’s midfield due to form or injury.

Adding a highly-rated player with top-flight experience will strengthen a midfield core that looks to compete on four fronts next season.

What Chelsea’s sheer number of players in midfield means, however, is that Dewsbury-Hall may not be given the opportunities needed to flourish. It’s clear he has the favour of Maresca, whom he starred under for Leicester last season, but there are questions about whether he can settle into life at Stamford Bridge quickly owing to Chelsea’s lofty expectations.

His impressive injury history (he has only missed one game in his professional career) indicates that he will consistently be available for selection. Still, there is often a concern at Chelsea that talented players can get lost in the shuffle.

Elias Burke

Overall rating: 348/500

(Top photo: Getty Images; design: Eamonn Dalton)

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