Arriving from Poitiers FC in France last summer to join the masses of promising youngsters in Chelsea’s Academy, Nicolas Tié has yet to feature for the first-team, and will probably have to wait a while longer seeing as the club bought 23-year-old Kepa Arrizabalaga in the summer for €70m.
That being said, the 17-year-old was still on the radar of the Ivory Coast national team, for whom he is eligible despite being born in Lille in France, and Kamara Ibrahim surprised many by calling the youngster up for the upcoming double fixture against Central African Republic.
The young shot stopper was expected to land in Abidjan on Monday to integrate with the squad and get a first feel for non-club football, but due to Chelsea’s apparent worrying, that will have to wait.
According to the player, relayed by Sport-Ivoire: “I’m not in Abidjan today for the meeting with the Elephants because I’m just coming back from injury, and the club didn’t want to take any risks by allowing me to be with the national team.”
However, and it’s a fairly big claim, another Ivorian outlet, Sportmania, state the reason for his non-showing is very different, and that the ‘Chelsea blocked me’ line was just an excuse.
That’s because clubs cannot stop players from representing their country for official games, which the two Africa Cup of Nations qualifying fixtures are.
According to them, Tié is now hesitating about playing for Ivory Coast after someone at the French Football Federation rang him and his family, telling them not to be too hasty with the decision to represent Ivory Coast.
The 17-year-old is now said to be aiming to play for France one day.