“Chelsea are sustaining their academy”
Chelsea’s academy has come under fire in recent times for its failure to produce enough talented young players for the first team despite a considerable outlay. But as the Life’s a Pitch team discusses, not only is Chelsea’s academy paying for itself in player sales, but it is actually bringing players through in what is a notoriously difficult process.
“This is what kids at all big clubs should really accept if they’re going to move to the big academies,” explains the Guardian’s Dominic Fifield in relation to Josh McEachran‘s very slim chances of making the Chelsea first-team this season. “It sounds as if Di Matteo is going to spend the first week in August assessing which players go out on loan and it would be a surprise if McEachran didn’t go out. They’re even looking at people like Nathaniel Chalobah going out on loan. They recognise that going out on loan would make sense for him and Sam Hutchinson. There are other youngsters like Gael Kakuta who probably will move on this summer because they’re not going to be quite good enough. That’s the bottom line, he will end up back in France.”
But faced with such a long shot of making the first team, why would a talented young player choose to join Chelsea’s academy, asks journalist and author Ian Ridley. ”You wonder what’s gone on at Chelsea over the last five years. They had Frank Arnesen in charge of player development and he obviously got the sack because they weren’t delivering. But you wonder about the long-term future for Chelsea in that if you were the parent of a really good kid you wouldn’t want him to go to Chelsea because the way [to the first team] is going to be blocked.”
Not so, argues Dominic. ”Chelsea would argue that these players are getting decent development and when Chelsea are getting rid of them they’re selling them for money, therefore they’re sustaining their academy. That is how their academy system is working.”
The People’s Dave Kidd expects left-sided defender and midfielder Ryan Bertrand (pictured, above) to be the next to graduate from the academy to the first team. ”They really rate Bertrand and I think he will get a good run. Ashley Cole’s contract has only got a year to run, Bertrand played in the Champions League final, started his first ever Champions League game at left midfield. There are odd exceptions [to those who fail to make the grade at Chelsea] and Bertrand, I reckon, could be, more than McEachran, a better bet.”
Watch the full video discussion by clicking on the play button in the image above.
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