Now it is widely known that the last graduate of Chelsea’s successful academy to become a regular in the first team is John Terry. Now to put into perspective just how shocking the clubs youth integration is, since Terry made his debut in 1998 the Under 18’s and Under 23’s have won a combined 19 trophies leading many to wonder is there any chance at all for the youngsters coming through at Stamford Bridge.
Many names come to mind when you think of players who served their time in the youth ranks and almost made the cut but back up players brought in the same position resulted in the young talents leaving. These include Ryan Bertrand who started ‘That night in Munich’ but was forced out by the arrivals of Filipe Luis and Abdul Baba Rahman who had little impact on the club. Other examples are Romelu Lukaku who after a great two seasons on loan at West Brom and Everton was pushed out of the door by utility man Loic Remy and especially more recently Danny Drinkwater was brought in for £35 Million making a measly 23 appearances but he was the man who forced academy starlet Nathaniel Chalobah out of the club.
In recent years we’ve also seen Gael Kakuta, Nathan Ake, Jeffrey Bruma and many more have their Stamford Bridge careers snatched away from them but is it now the club are finally looking to make a change?
The club have seemingly adopted a new philosophy under Maurizio Sarri and the coach himself has given high praise to the likes of Callum Hudson-Odoi and Ethan Ampadu whilst Mason Mount and Reece James are seeming to make a real impression out on loan. The summer of 2017 was a transfer window that involved a lot of panic buys not making sense for the future but in the summer of 2018 this all changed. With a transfer ban looking more likely by the day the club really need to target deals that will massively improve the squad and allow the academy graduates who have earned a chance to fill the gaps.
Whilst the likes of Bertrand and Kakuta have seen their careers at Chelsea come and go there is still a chance for Chelsea to turn their fortunes around. Reece James and Jay Da Silva are quality fullbacks, Mason Mount is looking the real deal playing under Frank Lampard, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Tammy Abrham are great attacking options whilst Ruben Loftus-Cheek is playing regularly now under Maurizio Sarri. Now is the time for Chelsea to build on the recent transfer window and not settle for short term mediocrity, improve with quality where needed but trust the youth that have earned their place.
By Joe Martin
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