Chelsea and Wales defender Ethan Ampadu is desperate to break into the Blues' first team this season, but admits he needs regular playing time ahead of a likely World Cup appearance in Qatar.
Ampadu spent last season on loan at Venezia, making 29 Serie A appearances but failing to prevent them from finishing bottom of the Italian top flight.
Having also spent time at RB Leipzig and Sheffield United since joining Chelsea from Exeter at the age of 16, Ampadu – already a Wales regular with 36 senior caps – is eyeing a breakthrough campaign at Stamford Bridge.
Asked whether he hoped for a long-term future with Chelsea by The Athletic, Ampadu, who is part of Thomas Tuchel's squad for a pre-season tour of the United States, replied: "Of course – I'm here, aren't I?
"This club fights for everything, Champions League, Premier League. It's all about fighting here and trying to get to the top.
"There are a few of us with that same mindset that want to break through. We're out here now and it's our chance to show it.
"Like every footballer out there, my dream is to be at the top. I don't think that's a bad thing to say and dream, everyone wants to be at the top. It's about fighting and getting towards that."
Minutes in the tank pic.twitter.com/t8rK88U2qp— Ethan Ampadu (@ethanamp26) July 17, 2022
Ampadu appeared from the bench in Chelsea's 2-1 friendly win over Mexican giants Club America on Sunday.
But the 21-year-old will face fierce competition in his bid to force his way into a defence which conceded just 33 Premier League goals last season (only Liverpool and Manchester City conceded fewer).
Chelsea have already signed Napoli's Kalidou Koulibaly and are being linked with Paris Saint-Germain's Presnel Kimpembe.
With Ampadu likely to feature when Wales begin their first World Cup campaign since 1958 against the United States on November 21, he recognises the importance of playing regularly.
"The World Cup adds something else, but even if there wasn't the World Cup, as a professional footballer you want to play," Ampadu added.
"I enjoy playing and I want to be playing week in, week out. But the World Cup is definitely something you want to be going to feeling fit and fresh."