Chelsea caused Rangers ‘despair’ when they signed the newest Blues debutant Billy Gilmour, Pat Nevin has revealed.
The highly-rated midfielder joined Chelsea for a reported £500,000 in 2017 after progressing through Rangers’ academy.
And Nevin, who played for Chelsea for five years between 1983 and 1988, says there was ‘fear’ around Ibrox when the Blues swooped for Gilmour.
Those in Scotland thought Gilmour would become the latest youngster signed by Chelsea who would get lost in their academy system, but the 18-year-old actually made his debut during Saturday’s 2-2 draw with Sheffield United.
And he could be handed more first-team chances under manager Frank Lampard, who has placed his faith in fellow academy stars Tammy Abraham, Mason Mount and Fikayo Tomori this season.
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Nevin told Chelsea’s official website: “Those who follow Chelsea closely will know that the young Scotsman [Gilmour] is very highly regarded at the club, but those outside of Cobham and the 5th Stand bubble might be less educated.
“He will be and is already a very, very exciting talent. Chelsea fans will definitely see more of him in the coming years.
“Up in Scotland, however, his ability is not unknown. In fact there was much despair at Rangers and in Scotland generally when he was brought to Chelsea.
“There was a fear he could get lost in the huge churn of talent that is here and indeed the Premier League overall.
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“I have lost count of the number of times when Scottish newspapers, radio stations and podcasters have asked me how I thought Billy was doing and how he would do in the longer term at Stamford Bridge.
“Most importantly, would he ever get a sniff of a first-team game?
“I always explained that he is very young, there are top international players ahead of him but if he continues to work hard, in a few years’ time you just never know.
“Patience, however, will be vital for him. Well it is just a few weeks since the last time I said that and I have been proved totally wrong already.”
Gilmour was introduced against Sheffield United as an 84th-minute substitute, and he got on the ball a few times to show his talent before the Blades netted their equaliser in the dying seconds of regulation time.