Can rough diamond Kaby make the grade at Chelsea?
Having first appeared on the Chelsea radar during the final months of JosÃÂ© Mourinho's reign in West London, exciting midfielder Aliu DjalÃÂ³ is hoping for his Blues breakthrough under Mourinho's apprentice, AndrÃÂ© Villas-Boas.
DjalÃÂ³, known simply as Kaby after the famous leader of his homeland of Guinea-Bissau, arrived in London after four years in Boavista's Academy. Chelsea were initially alerted to the talents of the then 15-year-old by one of Mourinho's trusted aides, and splashed out a reported ÃÂ£5 million to take Kaby to Cobham.
The skillful central midfielder struggled to adapt to the English game in his first season as a scholar, but on occasion still showed glimpses of his boundless potential. The 2009/10 season then saw big improvements from DjalÃÂ³, who thrived when given the opportunity to captain Chelsea's Under-18s. He played a key role in the FA Youth Cup win, showing off all his attacking talents, while showing good awareness and discipline to track back and help out defensively.
Last season, the improvements continued, and they didn't go unnoticed away away from Stamford Bridge.
Crystal Palace gave him a 17 minute pre-season run out, but the Championship outfit failed to agree terms with Chelsea over a loan move. Undeterred, DjalÃÂ³ followed up some good pre-season form with 18 Reserve team appearances, in which he scored three goals and made eight as the Blues won the Premier Reserve League.
He continued to show off his usual blend of flicks, tricks and stylish attacking play, but also injected an improved work ethic to his performances.
The current Portugal Under-20 international has since played 45 first-team minutes against Wycombe Wanderers during this pre-season, and has already trained with the first-team on a handful of occasions. At 19, Kaby needs to ramp up his development, something a loan move may well help with.
Chelsea have wasted money on many prospects who have failed to make the grade over the years, but don't rule out the committed and talented Kaby DjalÃÂ³ just yet.