MAURICIO POCHETTINO claims Levi Colwill can become one of the “greatest centre backs in England” for Chelsea.
Colwill, 20, spent last season on loan at the Seagulls, winning the affection of Brighton boss Roberto De Zerbi.
It has been the Italian coach’s aim to lure him back to the Amex ever since the window opened.
Brighton have already had a £30m offer rejected for the England U21 international, and it is unlikely Chelsea will consider any more offers for the player this summer.
Colwill started for Chelsea against Brighton in the early hours of Sunday morning in Philadelphia – his first appearance on the club’s United States pre-season tour.
And Poch said: “I am so happy. He can be one of the greatest centre-backs in England.”
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On whether playing him against Brighton was a deliberate statement, Poch added: “We don't need to show anything or make a statement.
“He is our player and he is going to continue with us. His performance was good, better than what I expected because it is only the first game with us after the season with Brighton.”
Poch has also poured cold water over De Zerbi’s attempts to construct a swap deal involving Colwill and midfielder Moises Caicedo – Chelsea’s priority summer target.
Chelsea have had multiple bids – the latter rising to £70m – rejected for Ecuador international Caicedo, 21, with Brighton owner Tony Bloom demanding £100m.
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De Zerbi has said recently that a swap deal would be “logical” for the player who helped England's U21s to Euros glory in Georgia earlier this month.
But Poch is adamant he would not sign off on that, especially after already seeing thirteen senior players depart the club so far this summer.
He explained: “The situation is clear and nothing to say. He is our player and we are happy with him and of course he is going to be part of our team.”
The pre-season win over Brighton also saw £88m January buy Mykhailo Mudryk and £32m summer signing Nicolas Jackson score their first goals for the club, with another new face Christopher Nkunku – £55m from RB Leipzig – and Conor Gallagher adding the extras.
With Chelsea facing Liverpool in their Premier League opener on August 12, Poch added: “For Jackson, for Mudryk, it is important to score, for Nkunku also.
“We are going to try to improve because with a little bit more capacity to stay calm maybe we can create more chances and score more goals.
“We know the area that we need to work. We need to believe and to trust in the process to arrive to the first Premier League game in the best condition.”
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