If Mauricio Pochettino needs to find solutions within his squad to make up for the lack of numbers, the Argentine got off to the perfect start after fielding full-back Ian Maatsen at left-wing – a position that enabled the Dutchman to flourish in North Carolina as he grabbed two goals in the 5-0 demolition of Wrexham. The 21-year-old is back at Stamford Bridge with cautious optimism that he can finally kickstart his senior Chelsea career after helping Vincent Kompany’s Burnley side lift the Championship title last season.

Maatsen is a highly-rated prospect with a wealth of EFL experience under his belt having also enjoyed spells with Charlton Athletic and Coventry City.

But stepping up to the Premier League is a whole different kettle of fish but the former Feyenoord, Sparta Rotterdam and PSV academy starlet is now showcasing the quality that will be required to make the grade under Pochettino.

He earned rave views for his mobility and energy on the left flank against Wrexham and although tough challenges lie ahead for the Blues, he already looks like a shining light for Chelsea as they crank up preparations for the 2023/24 season.

The full-back is a defender who likes to attack and it appears Pochettino has decided to tap into that by trying the 21-year-old out wide in his 4-2-3-1 system.

It’s a decision he did not live to regret as Maatsen displayed some fantastic finishing, proving that he can also be a real threat in the final third for the Blues if required.

The general consensus at the start of pre-season was that Maatsen would be heading out on loan or permanently this summer but now it seems he has every chance of being part of Pochettino’s squad next term.

He struck the opening two goals against the National League champions with two ruthless finishes and his natural chemistry in attack with the likes of Nicolas Jackson looks incredibly promising.

Burnley and West Ham remain interested in a deal but Chelsea would be silly to consider losing a young player of Maatsen’s calibre particularly given he has the desire to fight for his place at the club.

He said after the match: “I hope to come back here and show the fans and the manager what I am capable of.

“Of course, sometimes it is difficult [not knowing your future] but you try to do your best all the time, stay calm and not stress.

“Just think about football, ask a lot of questions about how to get better, how to improve yourself, ask your teammates and help them as well.”

Ben Chilwell was also on target for Chelsea in the second half while Marc Cucurella was substituted before bizarrely coming back onto the field of play following a late injury.

It means Maatsen will face stiff competition for places at left-back next season if he is to remain with the club, although Pochettino clearly fancies the Dutchman in an attack-minded wide role.

Maatsen’s fate is now in his own hands. If he continues to knuckle down there is no reason why he can’t upset the apple cart to earn minutes in the Premier League.

Yet having said that, he may feel his prospects of playing regular football are better served elsewhere and with Premier League clubs already at the table, he could be forgiven for pursuing a transfer later in the window.

All the while Pochettino continues to wait around for new signings, he is better off scratching around for solutions within his current squad. Maatsen is clearly one who can save the club millions in the transfer market.