What’s the talk?
That’s according to a report by Football Insider, who claim that, despite both Tottenham and Crystal Palace being heavily linked with a move for the Peterborough United centre-back over the last few months, it is Chelsea who now appear to be leading the race for the 19-year-old – with Thomas Tuchel’s side said to be preparing to launch an offer for the defender in the coming days.
Further reports had suggested that Patrick Vieira’s side were the club who looked closest to tying up a £15m deal for the England U19 international, while the League One side’s owner, Barry Fry, revealed that Spurs have also been monitoring the teenager for a considerable amount of time.
In comments cited by The Sun earlier this month, Fry said: “Spurs have been watching him for a long time, but so have other clubs. There is a big German club showing interest which is no real surprise as they love to take young English players and develop them.
“I’ve had conversations with people at Chelsea who are in the know and who would be involved in any decision-making. They came to watch Lucas [Bergstrom], but they were taken by Ronnie. They haven’t made a bid yet, but there are three weeks until the transfer window closes. They certainly like him.
“Virtually the entire Premier League know about Ronnie [and] I have had big clubs asking to be kept informed if anyone does bid for Ronnie. Our position on Ronnie remains the same. It’s going to have to be a big bid to get him and we would try and make sure he was sent straight back to us.”
Paratici must act
Considering the sheer amount of potential Edwards quite clearly possesses, it is not difficult to see why all three of Tottenham, Chelsea and Crystal Palace would be interested in a deal to sign the 19-year-old over the remainder of the summer transfer window.
Indeed, over his 34 Championship appearances last season, the £810k-rated defender was in imperious form, helping Peterborough keep five clean sheets, in addition to making an average of 1.8 tackles, 1.4 interceptions, 3.7 clearances and winning 3.0 duels – at a success rate of 55% – per game.
The £2.7k-per-week talent also impressed with the ball at his feet, enjoying an average of 60.3 touches, completing 43.6 passes – at a success rate of 88% – playing 3.7 long balls and completing 0.3 dribbles per fixture.
These returns saw the player who Fry dubbed both a “Rolls-Royce” and “outstanding” average an eye-catching SofaScore match rating of 6.81, ranking him as Peterborough’s joint eighth-best player in the second tier of English football last time out – a quite remarkable feat for a defender playing for a side who ultimately suffered relegation.
The 19-year-old has continued this fine form in his six League One appearances so far this season, helping Grant McCann’s side keep three clean sheets, as well as making an average of 1.7 tackles, 1.7 interceptions, 40.5 passes and winning 3.2 duels – at a success rate of 68% – per game.
These returns have seen the England youth international average a simply sensational SofaScore match rating of 7.23, not only ranking him as Posh’s third-best performer in the league but also as the joint 27th-best player in the third tier as a whole in 2022/23.
As such, with Edwards evidently being a centre-back who is incredibly solid at the back and extremely talented in possession of the ball, coupled with the fact that he is still just 19 years of age, it would very much appear to be a mistake for Paratici to miss out on landing the defender to either of Chelsea or Palace in the coming days.
Indeed, considering just how much potential the teenager has proven he possesses, it would take a very brave man to bet against the Peterborough starlet becoming a top-level Premier League centre-back in the not too distant future – something that Paratici must do everything in his power to ensure happens at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium rather than Stamford Bridge or Selhurst Park.