open menulivescore

One To Watch: Chelsea playing waiting game with Paez
Copy icon

Dan Fitch
Kendry Paez scored his first goal for Ecuador last week
Kendry Paez scored his first goal for Ecuador last week

Kendry Paez is the sort of young footballing talent worth waiting for. 

That is good news for Chelsea, because despite signing the Ecuadorian back in June, he cannot play for them until May 2025. 

The 16-year-old will remain at Independiente del Valle until he turns 18 and the transfer can go through. 

Ahead of Chelsea's match against Arsenal on Saturday, we turn the spotlight on Paez. 

Youngest scorer

Paez hit the headlines last week when he scored his first goal for Ecuador in their 2-1 win in Bolivia.

That made him the youngest South American to score in a World Cup qualifier, aged just 16 years and 161 days. 

It was Paez's second of three appearances for his country, all of which have seen him start. 

His future Chelsea team-mate Moises Caicedo provided the assist for the goal, with the youngster applying a calm, curling finish. 

Earlier this year, the then Brighton midfielder was asked for his thoughts on Paez. 

Caicedo said: "I'm very happy for him, for everything he's doing. 

"All I can tell him is keep on the right track, doing things really well and he's going to go really far because the talent he has is incredible." 

Kendry Paez and Moises Caicedo combined for Ecuador's opener against Bolivia
Kendry Paez and Moises Caicedo combined for Ecuador's opener against Bolivia

Chelsea deal

Chelsea are reported to have struck a deal worth £17.2million with Ecuadorian outfit Independiente del Valle that will go through when Paez turns 18 in 2025. 

Though that is a lot of money for a player still only 16, his rapid progress means the agreement is likely to turn out to be something of a bargain. 

Paez found the net on his debut for Independiente in February — becoming the youngest player and scorer in the Ecuadorian top flight at the tender age of 15 in the process. 

This year, he has also represented his country at the South American Under-17s Championship and became the youngest ever scorer in the FIFA U-20 World Cup. 

Given his remarkable rise, Paez's elevation to the full international side has not looked premature. 

The trickster is an exciting left-footed dribbler who can play on the right of the attack or more centrally behind a striker. 

When you consider the strides Paez has made during his short career, you can only wonder what sort of player Chelsea are going to have on their hands when he switches to England. 

Legendary comparisons

Kendry Paez will join Chelsea in 2025
Kendry Paez will join Chelsea in 2025

In June, Paez spoke about his impending move to Chelsea and comparisons to another South American who lit up the sport as a teenager. 

He said: "I don't feel pressure, I am focused on Independiente, on the [Copa] Libertadores and on playing in the best way. To get there, I have to keep working, be focused on studying. 

"It's wonderful but now I'm focused on Independiente del Valle. There are two years to go, I know it goes by quickly and I'll keep doing my thing here. 

"I'm Kendry, I'm going to give the name to Ecuador. I'm going to continue being me, I don't want to be compared to [Lionel] Messi. 

"He's very special, he's the best. I'm 16, they cannot compare me with him because I'm in a process. I have things to improve and gain a lot of experience."

Messi comparisons may be premature but Chelsea fans certainly have plenty to get excited about.


Kendry PaezEcuadorChelsea
LiveScore logo

LiveScore: Live Sport Updates

Footbal Scores & Sports News

App storeGoogle play