In our latest episode of The Chelsea Spot podcast, Parth (Owner – @CFCParee) was joined by Scott (Guest – @scott_trotter) to discuss the futures of some of the academy boys and players on loan. The Chelsea Spot provided exclusive information on Ben Elliott, Bashir Humphreys, Mason Burstow, Harvey Vale, Dion Rankine, Levi Colwill, Ian Maatsen and so much more!
Vision 2030 is a plan devised by Neil Bath that involves scouting and buying some of the game’s top young talents, both to create a wave of players capable of filling the gaps in the first-team and to push the youngsters who come through Chelsea’s academy onto bigger things. Buying players for this plan already took place in the summer with the signings of Gabriel Slonina, Cesare Casadei, Carney Chukwemeka, and Omari Hutchinson. Todd Boehly has shown no intent to slow down this Vision, with the Chelsea owner already agreeing January deals for Molde Striker David Datro Fofana and Vasco De Gama Midfielder Andrey Santos.
Chelsea’s Vision 2030 has five main targets:
for 15% of their Premier League minutes to be from Academy players
for 25% of their first-team squad to be from the Academy
to have above national average GCSE and A Level results
to have more Academy players in the professional game than from any other Academy
to win more national and international competitions than other academies
To achieve this, Neil Bath and Jim Fraser will be given a set budget and freedom to buy players for this purpose and in this article I’ll speak about 10 players currently playing in Academies across England that we should target (most we have been linked to by credible journalists but others are just wishful thinking).
The first player on this list is Arsenal Prodigy Ethan Nwaneri, a player who has already made his Premier League debut at the ripe old age of 15 against Brentford back in September. Ethan is at the age where players receive scholarship offers and with no news on whether he has accepted one at Arsenal, clubs like Chelsea and Manchester City are circling. A left footed midfielder who is physically strong and has bags of technical ability, he is considered to be the best U17 talent in the country at the moment and would be a major coup for the Vision 2030 plan.
The next player I’m going to talk about is a current teammate of Ethan at Hale End who is also coming up to scholarship decisions – Myles Lewis-Skelly. He was at Cobham at a young age but made the change to Arsenal later on. Myles is an all action midfielder who is also being fast tracked through the age groups just like Ethan in order to convince him to stay. An unnamed youth coach once said that Lewis-Skelly was the most “outstanding” prospect in the academy, alongside Ethan Nwaneri. In fact, he went on to claim that the 16-year-old is as naturally talented as Nwaneri. Myles has the ability to play in that deeper role as well as more advanced and regularly takes players out of the game with his impressive ball carrying ability and regains possession with his athleticism and football IQ.
Harris is a Welsh attacking midfielder from Fulham who possesses a very good goal threat from midfield. The 17 year old has scored 6 goals in 5 games at PL2 level this season, including a Hat-trick against a Chelsea side that included Chalobah, Ampadu and Chilwell. He is already a regular for the Wales U21 side and was taken to Qatar for the experience. On top of this. he has made a handful of Prem appearances for Fulham this season and due to signing his first pro contract this summer he’s one of the more expensive players on this list but still a deal I’d keep an eye on.
We’re now going to jump across to North London to discuss the15 year old attacker Mikey Moore. Born in 2007, Moore has featured regularly for Spurs U18 and UEFA Youth league side, making him one of the 10 youngest players to play in the competition. Moore is also an essential part of the England U16s team that consists of Chelsea Striker Shim Mhueka and Chelsea target Chris Rigg, regularly popping up with goal contributions. Rumoured to have been offered a scholarship at Manchester City and Chelsea, it remains to be seen if the winger’s future lies at White Hart Lane.
Triston Rowe currently plays at Aston Villa, having joined them in the Summer of 2021 from their rivals, West Brom. The versatile defender has been a standout performer in Aston Villa’s academy this season, even making his PL2 debut at the age of 16 where he managed to pick up an assist as well as making a few appearances in the EFL Trophy. The England Under-16s international has long been on Chelsea’s radar having played for his country at the youngest age groups.
Tezgel has, just like many others on this list, been followed by Chelsea for a while now, as well as the rest of the top clubs around England, but so far, he has decided to stay at Stoke and develop. A natural finisher at every level, he made a name for himself in the Under-18 side at Stoke, scoring 19 goals in 34 appearances last season and he has 7 goals in 10 games for England U17s side. Due to the variety of goals he scores as well as his technical ability and frame, the striker of Turkish descent has drawn some comparisons to Harry Kane.
Ishe Samuels-Smith is a Left-Back that currently plays at Everton. He’s following in the footsteps of another young driving force who used to play LB for Everton in Thierry Small. Ishe is highly regarded as one of the best young left backs in the Academy game, an issue that Chelsea has had for years, which has recently been addressed by the additions of Zak Sturge from Brighton. However, during the summer, we came close to getting Ishe to sign a scholarship at the Bridge, but he decided to stay at Everton for the time being. With him still performing to a high level and Chelsea’s past interest, I think this is a deal that may reappear.
Now let me have a bit of fun with this one. Carlos Borges is a left winger that plays for Man City and is one of the most electrifying players I have seen at any level. Carlos has bags of pace and flair with goal contributions to back it up with the 18 year old racking 16 goals and 11 assists in just 18 games this season. He is the only player so far to not be linked to Chelsea, but as Simon Phillips recently said, we are monitoring Academy Talent from City in the hopes of convincing them of a better pathway at Cobham. On top of this, his contract expires in 2024, and there’s no sign of a potential first team debut in the near future for him, so there might be a small chance.
In my opinion, Kobbie Mainoo is the best young player currently at Man United with the ability to play all 3 roles in the midfield to a high standard. He progresses the ball well through both his dribbling and passing ability which helps his game in an offensive sense but also has insane agility which helps him not only avoid tackles but cover ground and regain possession for his team. The 17 year old looks comfortable against any opposition he’s put up against and has a really bright future ahead of him. Again, like Borges, there have been no links to Chelsea so far, but a deal I think we need to make if we’re serious about signing the best talent around.
The last player I’m going to speak about is one of the lesser known players on this list. Jimmy is a left-footed winger who plays for Southampton, who has 5 assists in 6 games at PL2 level this season and has been in and around the first team already at the age of 16. He is part of a resurgence of academy talent at the Saints such as Tyler Dibling, Dominic Ballard, and Jayden Meghoma, any of which I would gladly take at Chelsea. Again, he’s not been linked yet, but due to our good relationship with Southampton shown through academy Goalkeeper Eddie Beach, the aforementioned Tyler Dibling and Director of Recruitment Joe Shields, something could get done.
Thank you for reading my first article. As you may be aware, there are hundreds of players on the Vison 2030 list so if you want me to do a Part 2 make sure to let me know, and yes I’m well aware that some of these names are very unlikely to happen but we can only hope.
In our latest episode of The Chelsea Spot podcast, Parth (Owner – @CFCParee) was joined by Danny (Writer – @danny_new_) to discuss the 2-0 victory at Stamford Bridge against Bournemouth, featuring a Mason Mount & Denis Zakaria masterclass. The boys also discussed the recent rumours of Enzo Fernandez, Declan Rice, Benoit Badiashile and Joao Felix, while Parth also tested Danny on his 2022 The Chelsea Spot knowledge as well as previewing Nottingham Forest’s game on New Year’s Day.
Thursday was a busy day on Chelsea Twitter, as fans were blessed with a double ‘Here we go!’ from Fabrizio Romano. Continuing the trend set by the summer purchases of Carney Chukwuemeka and Cesare Casadei, Chelsea are set to further bolster their army of U20 talent with the additions of Andrey Santos and David Datro Fofana for a combined €32m. While many are excited by the Football Manager-style prospect of a Chelsea dominant for years into the future, others are quick to point out the need to address the less-than-ideal actuality facing Graham Potter’s disjointed and underperforming squad.
A bleak run of form just before the World Cup has left many Chelsea fans under a dark cloud of negativity, growing increasingly frustrated with the ownership of Todd Boehly and Behdad Eghbali. Many criticise the bulldozing entrance which saw them rip up the entire internal structure of the club, culminating in the sacking of Thomas Tuchel, who was so greatly adored by the Chelsea faithful. These events seem to have generated a widespread view that the new ownership is out of its depth, lacking the necessary knowledge to cut it at the top level of football. Any action now comes under immediate heavy criticism, and fans are questioning the signings of youth players amidst the need for ready-made reinforcements. However, in moments like these a bit of level-headed objectivity can go a long way. While Chelsea are in need of first team signings, we also have to appreciate the work being done to rectify the lack of sustainable progress the club has made over the last five years. The establishment of solid, long-term foundations for success is, really, incredibly exciting, and it is important to remember what Boehly & co have come here to do.
Also on Thursday, a month-old interview with co-owner Behdad Eghbali surfaced on Twitter. Encouragingly, it confirmed the ambition that many of us had seen in the new ownership, with Eghbali again displaying a desire to establish a multi-club model. It was interesting to see the Chelsea man reiterate the inefficiency he sees across many clubs in Europe, highlighting the opportunity for clubs to be more optimally and sustainably run. In fact, he explicitly states that Chelsea ‘was not terribly well managed on the football side, sporting side or promotional side’. He goes on to speak about the Red Bull model, citing their ‘50 to 100 million a year profit in player sales’ and underlining the importance of ‘using data […] and a cohesive global structure’ in order to ‘produce a winning product’. Indeed, Chelsea themselves have already entirely restructured their board, bringing in the ex-Red Bull technical director himself, Christopher Vivell. He brings his multi-club expertise to a team of Joe Shields, Laurence Stewart and Paul Winstanley, four specialists replacing Marina Granovskaia who, in theory, previously carried out the jobs of all four. Already, you can see the optimisation mentioned by Eghbali is being put into place, ready for the January transfer window. Logically, bringing in some of the best in their fields should prevent Chelsea from continuing to make the wrong decisions, squandering millions on failed signings and missing youth development opportunities.
It may not be immediately clear how a multi-club model would do anything other than expand the assets of the Clearlake enterprise. Fortunately for the fans, both Eghbali and Boehly, in an interview dating back to September, have emphasised the model’s role in player development, allowing Chelsea to present their youth players with reliable pathways to the first team. See following from Boehly’s interview:
‘The challenge at Chelsea is that when you have 18-, 19-, 20-year-old superstars, you can loan them out to other clubs, but you put their development in someone else’s hands. Our goal is to make sure we can show pathways for our young superstars to get onto the Chelsea pitch while getting them real game time. To me, the way to do that is through another club somewhere in a really competitive league in Europe. […] What we really need is a place to put our 18-, 19-, 20-year-olds to develop them, in Portugal, Belgium or somewhere like that. Get them the (GBE) points they need and also get them out of South America and into Portugal, which is a perfect example, we think, and then to get them on the pitch for Chelsea.’
This really is nail on the head from Boehly. How many times have we seen talented Chelsea youngsters either stagnate at a poor loan, or force a permanent move away for their own development? Just look at the progression of the likes of Marc Guéhi, Jamal Musiala and Fikayo Tomori since leaving the club. What might have been for Callum Hudson-Odoi had the right structure been in place for him to maximise his potential in his favoured position? How did Billy Gilmour go from starting regularly in the Premier League under Frank Lampard, dubbed the ‘Scottish Iniesta’, to being sold by the club for a measly £9m? I could go on and on, but the point is that Chelsea have grossly mismanaged the abundance of talent produced for years at their very own training ground. For Boehly to identify this issue publicly and accurately, and present us with a convincing solution, must inspire confidence. His mention of Portugal as a facilitated entry point for young Brazilians displays his knowledge of the task at hand and might provide a hint as to the eventual destination of Andrey Santos. Regardless, it’s clear that Boehly and Eghbali are extremely ambitious with their plans for Chelsea, and that the new owners are committed to the prolonged and sustainable success of the club.
As mentioned above, many fans seem to have difficulty getting excited about this, still hurt by the ruthless sacking of their beloved Thomas Tuchel. While understandable, some perspective needs to be applied here. The truth is Tuchel never displayed a desire to develop the young players at the club. Instant success was always prioritised, hence his blocking of Hudson-Odoi’s Borussia Dortmund loan to keep him as wingback cover, amongst other questionable decisions. Even with the new ownership in place, Tuchel had the power to break the cycle. Yet, after less than one week of Chelsea’s pre-season tour of the US, Tuchel sent home Billy Gilmour and Harvey Vale, neither of which seemed to have imminent loans lined up. Meanwhile, the likes of Ross Barkley, Michy Batshuayi and Kenedy, all entering the final year of their contracts, remained. Apart from the glaring mismanagement of the squad from the previous board, leaving these players under contract and on a never-ending cycle of unproductive loans, Tuchel must be held accountable for his decisions. Both Jorginho and N’golo Kanté were entering the final year of their contracts, and Billy Gilmour had shown the ability to perform as a 6 at the highest level. Academy Player of the Year Harvey Vale had the potential to provide effective squad depth in the attack, where both Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech were heavily linked with moves away. Yet, Tuchel preferred to keep the deadwood in the squad. It was difficult to understand, and decisions like these are simply not compatible with the new direction of the club. Boehly himself has made this clear:
‘The reality of our decision was we just weren’t sure Thomas saw it the same way we saw it. No one’s right or wrong, we just didn’t have a shared vision for the future. It wasn’t about Zagreb, it was about the shared vision for what we want Chelsea Football Club to look like. It wasn’t a decision made because of a single win or loss, it was a decision made about what we thought was the right vision for the club.’
Emotion removed; this makes sense. Now, under Potter, we are seeing the likes of Charlie Webster, Omari Hutchinson and Lewis Hall training regularly with the first team. This isn’t a token gesture, it’s because they are good enough to be there. Under previous managers, that fact hasn’t always been enough. It’s crucial that these players are given the time to grow in and around the first team set up, rather than being given one five-minute cameo, under all the pressure in the world, before being thrown back to the academy and deemed below standard. It’s also essential that the manager is allowed the time and space to do this, as seems to be the case currently. In his latest press conference, Potter stated:
‘I met up with Bedad (Eghbali) and had a good chat. I’m even more confident, more aware of the support I have now than I was three months ago. That tells you something. It’s a credit to them and their support. It’s been fantastic. […] We all know the pressure and the demands at Chelsea, but we have also got enough people who can see the perspective. I’m really looking forward to the weeks, months, years ahead.’
This is extremely encouraging, and it truly looks like Chelsea are finally going to be backing a manager for the long run. Part of doing this is accepting the bumpy ride that is part and parcel of the process – things are not always going to be perfect. Potter’s press conferences and general demeanour leave plenty to be desired, and the new ownership certainly didn’t handle their first transfer window particularly well. There is no doubt that improvements must be made. But, like most successes in life, you need to endure the difficult times first. If we have to play Europa League football next year, so be it. It’s proven to be an extremely effective competition for player development. Choose to see the positives. The same fans calling for Potter’s head will have mocked Arteta as a useless manager after Arsenal’s three straight losses at the start of last season, now silenced as the north Londoners sit top of the table, 19 points ahead of Chelsea at the halfway point. It’s like selling your Bitcoin stocks during the March 2020 dip, before seeing it skyrocket over 1000% into 2021. Don’t be that guy. Have some patience, have some faith. At the end of the day, this is the direction the club is going in. As a fan, why not be excited? Why not support your club, your youth? I promise you, in good time, we will be back.
In our latest episode of The Chelsea Spot podcast, Parth (Owner – @CFCParee) was joined by Daniel Childs (Guest – @SonOfChelsea) & Peter (Guest – @23Pankovski) to look ahead at the next few months for the Blues. The boys discussed Lewis Hall and Omari Hutchinson’s potential involvement in the next few months, whether Gvardiol and Colwill can play together, Nkunku joining in the Summer and so much more!
The Chelsea Spot understand Jim Fraser has been promoted to Head of Youth Development & Recruitment at Chelsea FC.
Neil Bath was promoted into the role of Director of Football Development and Operations in November, where we understand he will continue to oversee the U21s progress as well as the loan system for the academy players.
Jim Fraser was Neil Bath’s assistant for over 15 years, and together they have been the main men behind producing one of the best academies in the world.
In our latest episode of The Chelsea Spot podcast, Parth (@CFCParee) was joined by Football.London journalist Scott (Guest – @scott_trotter) to discuss the academy players set to be involved against Aston Villa, the upcoming January transfer window, the World Cup and so much more!
A slightly different episode today – Parth (@CFCParee) was on his own giving an explanation to you listeners about the past few months and the future of our podcast. We did an academy update from 17:18 onwards to the end of the episode, so make sure to give that a listen!
Chelsea’s fixture against Dinamo Zagreb on Wednesday is pretty much a dead rubber – the Blues have their first position in the Champions League Group Stage already confirmed. It’ll be a chance to rest the important players ahead of the massive game against Arsenal on the weekend. More importantly though, it’s the perfect opportunity to give a few academy players some very valuable minutes.
In our 2020/2021 Champions League success, Frank Lampard gave Tino Anjorin and Billy Gilmour their European debuts in the last game of the group stages – the exact same situation as we are in now. Graham Potter is known to rotate more, and he has an even busier schedule with the World Cup looming, so there really isn’t much excuse for the former Brighton manager.
Rules and Context
There’s a few rules and context points which I may as well go over to clear things up.
There is a List B for UEFA competitions, which can be updated by clubs throughout the season at any point. If they want to feature in the game on Wednesday, they need to be registered by midnight tomorrow (01/11/2022):
Clubs are entitled to register an unlimited number of players on List B during the season, but the list needs to be submitted no later than 24:00 CET the day before a match.
Lewis Hall and Charlie Webster (as well as Armando Broja) have already been registered on this list, so any other academy players who are set to be involved will need to be added to this list. However, it’s important to note that Omari HutchinsonCANNOT be added to this list and therefore won’t be able to feature on Wednesday for Chelsea. The reasoning is due to the following:
A player may be registered on List B if he is born on, or after, 1 January 2001 and has been eligible to play for the club concerned for any uninterrupted period of two years since his 15th birthday by the time he is registered with UEFA – or for a total of three consecutive years with a maximum of one loan period to a club from the same association for a period not longer than one year. Players aged 16 may be submitted if they have been registered with the club for the previous two years without interruption.
It’s a massive shame since he’s been by far the standout player in the academy this season, but unlike Carney Chukwuemeka he wasn’t registered on List A and won’t be able to play in the competition until the knockout stages (where the registration window opens once again for List A).
Some other general academy context is that the U21s had a game on Sunday evening, hence there was very little involvement in the first team training session today (Monday). The two pictured to have been involved were Silko Thomas (RWB/Winger) who didn’t play last night and Zak Sturge (LWB) who only got a few minutes from the bench. I suspect that tomorrow’s session will consist of more academy players, or at least I hope so.
It’s also important to note that the U19s will have a game on the same day in the UEFA Youth League, but with Chelsea already being out of the competition it’s not like they will need the experience of Webster or Hall for example, and may want to give opportunities to some of the younger players. Some of them have been on international duty with England over the last few days, so it’s going to be fascinating as to how the club manage each of the squads on Wednesday.
So…who could be involved?
I’d be pretty gutted if one of Bashir Humphreys or Alfie Gilchrist (both CBs) didn’t start for Chelsea. Assuming Azpilicueta is guaranteed to start, in either a four or five at the back formation, there’s still two CB options open. Thiago Silva and Trevoh Chalobah absolutely need a rest as any injury to them could destroy the whole season. If it’s a 5 at the back, he could play Cucurella and Koulibaly next to Azpi but the Senegalese’s defender fitness is still unknown and I think it’d be a massive risk to start him. If it’s a 4 at the back, I can’t see Cucurella playing at CB so that opens up a slot for one of Bashir or Alfie – as well as 4atb utilising the midfield and attack better where we are much more stacked. Josh Brooking is one who has trained with the first team a few times under Graham, but I have a feeling he’s got a small knock as he would’ve been in training today.
Reece James’ injury has pretty much reduced any quality on the right-hand side in both attacking and defensive sense. Azpilicueta clearly isn’t too favoured by Potter and we all know he’s a bit past it, and the Loftus-Cheek/Pulisic shifts at wing-back haven’t been too successfull either. If he does decide to go with a 5, Dion Rankine (RWB) simply has to play. He’s been excellent at wingback this season under Mark Robinson, and has really matured as a player in the last few years. It’s an easy comparison to make, but his blistering pace and some of the tricks he likes to pull out really does remind you of some of the things Tariq Lamptey was doing in our academy.
I don’t think we can expect many other players in the starting lineup. As much as I’d like to see more than one or two, Potter does also have to keep his squad players happy and I suspect the likes of Zakaria, Ziyech, Chukwuemeka, Aubameyang/Broja and Chilwell are all guaranteed to start while we could still easily see the likes of Gallagher, Pulisic, Jorginho and even Mount play for confidence.
There still should be some more on the bench though with a view of coming on as a substitute. Lewis Hall (midfielder) has had first team experience before under Thomas Tuchel, and his versatility (has played at LCB and LWB before) may give him the nudge over someone like Charlie Webster (midfielder), who still very much should be getting some minutes with the quality he has. Ben Elliott is a midfielder/forward who would fit Potter’s system really well in my opinion, and he’s really thrived in the 21s so far. Not being able to play for the U19s may actually be an advantage in that sense for him.
Here’s just a couple of lineups that I think Potter could go ahead with. I’m going to assume Koulibaly and Chukwuemeka are both fit enough to start, and that there are no other issues:
I also very much realise Potter could do the second lineup with Loftus-Cheek or a winger instead of Rankine…
I don’t think there are any other academy players who I’m missing. Let me know if I am on any of our social platformsand make sure to follow us for more academy related content! I should be getting an update tomorrow on the squad for Wednesday so stay tuned…
In our latest episode of The Chelsea Spot Podcast, Paree (Owner – @CFCParee) was joined by Tom (Writer – @tmdftbl) to discuss our impressive 2-0 victory at the San Siro! It’s also been over a month since our last episode (apologies…), so the boys discussed life under Potter as well as why most of our players have massively improved in the new system.
In our latest episode of The Chelsea Spot Podcast, Paree (Owner – @CFCParee) was joined by Rob (Admin – @CFCRobL), Peter (Guest – @23Pankovski) and Sam (Guest – @CFCCentral3) on a Twitter Space to discuss the harshness of Tuchel’s sacking, where his downfall began and the inevitability of this happening under Boehly, Graham Potter’s adaptability to a bigger club from Brighton and so much more!
In our latest episode of The Chelsea Spot Podcast, Paree (Owner – @CFCParee) was joined by Sairam (Writer – @ftblsairam) to discuss our lacklusture performance leading to an ugly 2-1 loss against Saints. The boys discussed starting Ziyech, the impact of the subs and not using the fifth one, the awful midfield shift from Jorginho, Hudson-Odoi’s loan and future at the club, the potential signing of Gvardiol and the next two very important days in the transfer window.
In our latest episode of The Chelsea Spot Podcast, Paree (Owner – @CFCParee) was joined by Orlando (Admin – @0rland1nho) & Rob (Admin – @CFCRobL) to discuss the “one-off” 3-0 loss to Leeds, the terrible signings we are about to make and the need for a DOF, Chalobah leaving alongside Hudson-Odoi, Gilmour’s situation and much more!
3 games into the 2022/2023 season – and we’re already in crisis mode. A victory against Everton, a draw against Spurs and an embarrassing 3-0 loss to Leeds has put the Chelsea fanbase into absolute chaos.
It’s pretty important not to overreact to the loss and make things too complicated talking about the formation etc because this time last week, we were absolutely thrilled after the performance against Spurs. The massive issue is that most fans knew that this sort of performance wouldn’t be replicated the next game, despite an away game at Leeds being a really important one for Chelsea fans.
I think there is so much to talk about at the moment, so that is exactly what I am going to do. Pretty much discuss any thoughts I have on most players in the squad, as well as some of Thomas Tuchel’s decisions. It’s going to be a long one.
I don’t think anyone can doubt that Mendy has struggled to reach the level he was at in his first 12 months at the club where he was crucial in our Champions League victory. The first 35 minutes pretty much summed up his last 24 months at the club – started off brilliantly and was distributing it with ease, and then a stupid error mucked it all up.
I think goalkeeper mistakes hurt the fans the most because they are so unnecessary and although it is quite cliche, you can just kick it out if you are feeling the pressure. The mistake against Real Madrid which arguably cost us the tie and Leeds’ antics are both unacceptable.
Yet, I’m still not too worried about Eddie. Look at one of the best goalkeepers in the world in Alisson and the number of similar mistakes he made last season, and you realise these things happen. No-one can convince me that if you gave Kepa 15 games in a row he’d make less mistakes. Maybe not with his feet, but he won’t be making the saves which Mendy makes on a regular and the ones we take for granted. I’m quite sure of it.
Trev now needs to leave the club. He’s now another victim of some really weird treatment from Tuchel in the last 6 months. The situation is really reminiscent of Tomori’s departure under Frank Lampard, where no one actually knows what is going on behind the scenes.
After watching Romelu Lukaku and Kai Havertz up top, people have finally started to see the issues with Tuchel’s treatment of Tammy Abraham. And yet somehow, I think the recent treatment of Chalobah is worse due to how good he was last season.
Chelsea STILL haven’t lost a game in normal time (two penalty losses against Liverpool) in which Trevoh has started for Tuchel, and that is an incredible record. I don’t doubt that mistakes were creeping in last season and Tuchel had the right to drop him, but then when he returned into the team against West Ham United he played brilliantly and was still dropped the next game.
On top of that, Andreas Christensen was ahead of Trev in the pecking order who was having his stomach pains and Azpilicueta had signed a deal with Barcelona to join them this Summer which eventually collapsed. Instead, the academy product who wanted to stay at the club, was put on the bench. It makes no sense.
I understand he has had a meeting with the club and Tuchel very recently. I suspect those discussions will eventually lead to the departure of Trev this season, but whether it’s on loan or a permanent deal remains to be seen. I suspect it could be similar to Callum Hudson-Odoi’s situation where the club pretty much refuse the player to leave permanently, and so they have to go out on loan to settle for some first team minutes.
I just think it’s a massive shame because I do believe he would’ve taken being a first choice backup in all three centre-back positions like he was for most of last season, but it does look like Silva, Azpi, Reece, Fofana, Koulibaly, Cucurella and maybe even Ampadu would be ahead of him to get minutes. He also could’ve been used in midfield crises like we had yesterday, but for whatever reason the trust with Tuchel seems to have broken down completely and he needs to be playing Premier League football for his career.
I love the guy, everyone loves the guy, but why on earth is he still at this club? It was absolutely perfect timing for him to move on this Summer and him getting a move back home in Spain, but instead we offered him a two year deal and he decided to stick around.
I didn’t have much of a problem with him staying to help with the transition of the new owner, but everyone knew as soon as he signed that deal he was going to get minutes. I just worry his downfall will be very similar to Ivanovic’s at the club, as we certainly saw glimpses of this coming last season.
When playing he certainly causes more issues than solves, and they’re much more obvious to see when you look directly at him during the game. He isn’t comfortable enough on the ball anymore and is often beaten in behind. It’s gutting because him staying has pretty much meant that a better and younger talent in Chalobah will be leaving the club, but there’s not much we can do at this point. Dave is here to stay.
There isn’t much to say about Thiago other than he is still a very classy centre-half. He doesn’t do much wrong and still makes some really important interceptions and tackles.
Although, I thought I’d bring up a discussion which I haven’t completely made my mind up on. I was watching the Chelsea U21s against Wolves two weeks back and it’s been bugging me since…
I wonder if Silva’s lack of athleticism is a massive reason for why we can’t go into a four at the back that often during games? I do think the midfield profile is a much bigger issue, but when watching a lot of teams playing a 3 man defence, the central centre back likes to push forward into midfield or make those line breaking passes which we don’t really see from Thiago anymore.
Ethan Ampadu in pre-season was an excellent example of this, Trevoh Chalobah would be able to play this role perfectly with him doing a very similar thing in the academy under Jody Morris, and dare I say it someone like Declan Rice could excel in this sort of role.
It’s not that big of an issue, but something I thought I’d bring up…
I’m really not going to go into the Senegalese that much. There isn’t much to say. He will turn out to be an excellent signing and at a good price. It was a stupid red card against Leeds especially for someone of his experience, but he’ll learn from it and I’m sure he won’t make the same mistake again. Next.
It is so frustrating the way we’ve dealt with Ethan over the last few years, and it looks like we could be messing with his career once again due to not being quick enough in the transfer market. Some awful loans, some very late decisions and not being given good enough chances in pre-season has led to him only having one proper good year of football since the academy days.
This time it was different though, or at least what it felt like. He was arguably the most impressive player in pre-season and with us looking for so many centre-halves it made total sense for him to be given a similar role to Malang Sarr’s last season. On top of that, playing in defensive midfield for Wales should’ve increased his chances of staying even more.
Unfortunately, so far it looks like him getting minutes in this Chelsea squad is going to be really unlikely and he hasn’t even been given a squad number yet! With the World Cup in just over a few months, he’ll be desperate for minutes and it’s why I suspect he’ll be pushing for a move on a loan or permanent basis in the final few days of the window.
On the other hand, I can see the club refusing this and forcing him to stay. It would be a massive shame for his own development but with Chalobah going out and Fofana coming in, I imagine they’ll want to keep Ethan around. If he can pick up Malang Sarr’s minutes I don’t think he’d complain either…
So, this upcoming weekend’s game against Leicester could be a massive signal for him. If he starts at LCB, there’s a good chance he will stay being backup to Koulibaly. But, if it’s what we all suspect and Cucurella is on the left hand side of defence, the Welshman should be pushing for that move instantly.
We gave our thoughts on Cucurella’s signing in a recent podcast episode, which you can listen to here, but I’ll summarise what I’m thinking so far.
Look, I’ve got no doubt he’s a very good player. £65m? That is an absurd price for a little bit of competition and a stopgap for Chilwell’s return to full fitness when you have one of the best academies in the world and are sending Ian Maatsen on loan to the Championship for the second season in a row.
I think people are really forgetting how important Chilwell was to our system beforehand and that was because he was such a reliable player and always did the job. He’d put in a 7/10 in most games and that’s all we needed from him.
In the end, I do think Cucurella could do that job and it isn’t my money so I can’t complain too much. But those funds certainly could have been used elsewhere and in much better use in my opinion…
Zero complaints about this boy. I’m ready to go as far as saying he’s our best player in the squad. He is THAT good.
RCB or RWB? I’ve got no issue with him doing either. He is absolutely excellent in both positions, and Tuchel’s following quote from last season is something most fans would agree with:
“I would love to have two Reece James’ to have the problem solved!”
– Thomas Tuchel
I imagine if/when Fofana comes in, it will solve a lot of the problems and he’ll finally be able to cement himself at that RWB position. When he’s been at RWB previously, it’s heavily relied on the RCB moving the ball quickly to Reece and when that has been Azpi this has been an issue. When he’s been at RCB, it relies on Ruben at wingback having a strong game and you never know which Ruben you’re going to get (so far this season, very good).
Fofana comes in and you have a centre-back who’s very strong on the ball and will allow Reece to attack with a bit more freedom. They’ll easily be able to switch with each other during the game – something which definitely isn’t possible currently and it should open up a few new things.
There isn’t much else to say that we have produced a future Chelsea captain and we must do everything to get him to sign a new contract.
Ruben is an extremely useful player in this squad and I’m pretty happy with the role he’s playing in this squad, and I think he is too (on top of a very high wage which he wouldn’t receive elsewhere).
I still remind myself of his football under Maurizio Sarri as a number eight and how good he was. He was dribbling past players for fun, but most impressively getting those goals and assists. We haven’t seen that in this system, and that’s something we can’t blame him due to playing a much deeper role in midfield and wingback being something very new to him.
I’m absolutely fine with him being our backup wingback, and he’s more than good enough to get a good number of minutes in midfield. It’s hard not to think what the likes of him, Conor and Mason could do as number eights in midfield and he’s a massive victim of this formation, but it’s something we’re going to have to live with for now.
I’m going to be very straight with you and it is just my opinion – he is absolutely not good enough to be starting for us weekly in the Premier League and hasn’t been for a while. It’s a massive shame he’s having to play so much at the moment due to Kovacic and Kante’s injuries because it’s costing us badly.
You’d surely think the player who was voted the third best footballer in the world would be able to help a young Conor in midfield and use all the space they had against Leeds? Wrong. They were both pretty awful and it was definitely where the game was lost.
Look, if you like him, you like him. If you don’t, then you don’t. You have definitely made up your mind on him by now. I love the guy, but really do not rate the footballer. He simply isn’t consistent enough, and I just don’t think he’s good enough for the Premier League.
He’s in the last year of his contract and this is where things get interesting. He’s clearly captain of the club when Azpi isn’t playing, so in that sense I would not be shocked at all if he’s offered an extension of one or two years and Chelsea try and get a fee later. Realistically, the only club who would be interested in him in the world is Juventus so let’s just hope they pick him up one window or another.
Very happy with Mateo and has turned out to be an excellent signing. I have always rated him as a footballer but did have my precautions at times, but I’m happy to say I’ve been proven wrong. He needs to stay injury-free though!
Another player who needs to stay injury-free! The Spurs game was a reminder that he is still one of the best midfielders in the world when fit, but it just never feels like we can get 5 games in a row for him. He’s set to be out for another few weeks and let’s just pray that’s the last one before the World Cup.
He’s also in a similar situation to Jorginho where he’s getting older and is in the last year of his contract, so I also suspect he’ll sign an extension or a proper contract. No way Todd Boehly lets both Jorginho and Kante leave on a free next Summer.
There’s a lot of discussion around Conor at the moment – and rightly so. He’s in a really sticky situation.
The World Cup in December will absolutely be ringing in his mind and if he wants to make that squad, he’s going to need proper gametime in the next two months. Whether he gets that with a heavy Chelsea schedule upcoming is the massive question he has to ask himself.
He’s another casualty of Tuchel’s system and it’s very obvious to see it doesn’t suit him at all and that’s not his fault. You have to remember that this is a player who stood out in an extremely struggling West Brom team, and the following season was one of the best midfielders in the Premier League at Crystal Palace where he picked up so many goals and assists under Patrick Vieira.
He has played in this pivot role before, and I still think he could do a job there. In the same way you didn’t overreact to Koulibaly’s poor performance against Leeds, you’d be silly to completely dismiss Conor after his poor showing too.
Phil (@chelseayouth) in the above tweet summarised it pretty well. I do actually think Conor would be a bit more comfortable in the attacking role where he can win the ball back higher up the pitch and has a larger license to lose the ball. But, it doesn’t look like that’s going to be the case. Someone said to me that against Leeds Tuchel had Mason and Conor playing in the complete opposite roles and I cannot unsee it now.
I think he will end up staying and that’s as a result of Kovacic and Kante’s injuries. If you asked me a week ago, I’d have said he was going on loan again with the international competition in mind. Still some days for that to change…
Who? Who is Billy Gilmour?
Something which Tuchel clearly has been saying to himself in the last few months. The Scottish international has become the forgotten man, and no one really seems to care which is frightening. It’s actually really scary.
It’s also ridiculous. I have zero doubt he would have done a better job than both Conor and Jorginho in midfield against Leeds. Something is clearly not right as he wasn’t even involved in the U21s game where the fringe players such as Ampadu, Chukwuemeka, and Chalobah all featured in for match fitness.
I think people forget – this is a player who was really impressive under Tuchel over a season ago and that included a MOTM worthy performance against the best team in the world (Manchester City) which even got unprompted praise from Antonio Rudiger afterwards!
Yes, his loan at Norwich was awful. Yes, he didn’t look that good in the academy pre-season games I watched. A lot of that is due to a complete loss of confidence and it’s up to Tuchel to get that back for such a quality player. It does not look like that is happening.
It’s pretty obvious, but Billy does want to leave the club permanently although I think he’ll only get a loan since we’re so late into the window. He HAS to make the right move, and perhaps he needs some belief from a manager like Frank Lampard to get his career back on track.
I’ve got a really bad feeling he’s going to be chucked into the U21s in a few weeks if he doesn’t leave on a loan this window. I have no problem with him playing the odd game here and there to keep his fitness levels up but is he absolutely good enough to get minutes for the first team and shouldn’t accept anything less.
I was told that Tuchel convinced him to join the club by telling him he would get first team minutes with Kante and Jorginho’s “age” and injury proneness. If I’m being honest, I’ve seen nothing so far which suggests to me that this is even close to being the case.
We have to remember this is a player who we have plucked from a Premier League side and is more than good enough to play in the division, so putting him on at Half-Time two days ago wouldn’t have been as ludicrous as it may sound to some. He suits the pivot really well and would’ve been able to keep the ball and move it quickly.
Time will tell what happens with him. I did find it quite interesting that Tuchel mentioned all the midfielders in the post-match conference and didn’t say Carney, but maybe that’s just me overreacting a little. Ideally, he gets a Premier League loan, but I can’t see that happening and if you want to watch him then I’d start turning up to Kingsmeadow as much as you can!
I have zero issues with Mason. In fact, if you have a massive issue with Mason, then I have an issue with you. Just like Reece, another player we should be begging signs that six year deal.
I lied. I do have an issue with Mason. It’s the way Tuchel uses him:
And that tweet pretty much summarises it. Mason Mount is a midfielder. Why on earth is the highest player on the pitch against Leeds after putting in an incredible performance versus Spurs in a left midfield role?
Mason’s a culprit of being a very technical and intelligent player and as a result is played out of position (and just like a lot of the other Cobham boys). I worry this is turning into a Jorginho slander piece but compare that to Jorginho who due to his multiple limitations we are having to play a system which doesn’t suit about 7 other starters.
‘I’ve played midfield my whole life. I’ve varied between playing a bit more forward in a No.10 position but I always kind of see myself as a No.8.
I’ve definitely got a range of longer passing in my locker and you can bring that out more when you’re playing in that deeper No.8 position. I do like that [central] role. It allows me to build up play with the ball and also get forward and join the attack.’
Mason Mount (November 2020)
I do get he has inconsistencies but so does Reece. They are both still quite young players in the Premier League and we’ll see the best of them very soon. Getting thrown around and being asked to do hundred things at once does not make life any easier for him yet he cracks on and doesn’t complain once. Him and Reece have to dominate Chelsea FC for the next 10 years.
I’m personally not a huge fan of the player, and I’m certainly not a fan of his dad’s antics on Twitter.
I’ve gathered that Tuchel has pretty much told him that he’s only seen as a super sub for the Blues, and I don’t think that’s gone down too well. I’m not sure how much Pulisic can do about it though with there not being too much concrete interest in him from other clubs!
He’s a pretty inconsistent player, and I still haven’t really been able to figure out what he’s quite good at exactly. Under Frank, he was dribbling past players for fun and seemed to enjoy that freedom, but he hasn’t had any of that under the German manager and just loses the ball most of the time. His movement off the ball is pretty strong but we don’t see him in the box as often and our style of play isn’t that direct for him to be effective at all.
It is probably best for all parties involved if he was moved on quite quickly.
Another player who needs to disappear from this club ASAP.
He’s been useful for us at times in the last two years with him turning up in some massive games and getting a few key goals, but I understand he has massively fallen out with Tuchel and is desperate to leave.
His attitude on the pitch is pretty poor with him complaining all the time and just destroying any attacks by shooting whenever he gets bored. It’s a shame because there’s a good player in there and a profile we don’t have but he doesn’t fit the system at all and needs to depart.
He seems to be the talking point at this time of the season every year. He’s often been at the end result of quite a lot of hypocrisy from managers – and it was ever so clear with some more quotes from Thomas Tuchel.
As you can see from the first quote, I do think Tuchel massively rates Callum as I’ve never seen him say such good things potential wise about Pulisic or Ziyech for example.
But you can only reach your potential if you play football. That is a fact. You have to be allowed to make mistakes, and even more for someone like Callum, you have to be able to express yourself and not be worried about losing the ball once or twice.
The third quote is worrying because he is telling Hudson-Odoi he needs to keep on fighting, and yet he fails to give him any chances to do the fighting in the first place. Not coming on instead of Ziyech who is about to leave the club is absolutely disgraceful (in fact, what’s even worse is Ziyech was on a flight from Leeds to Amsterdam just an hour after the game to try and finalise a return to Ajax).
He does want to leave and I understand originally it was on a permanent basis, but the club refused and a loan looks much more likely with him desperate for first team minutes. There are so many clubs interested in the winger from England and abroad, so hopefully he makes the right move and we get an update in the next few days.
Personally, I’d send him to Southampton on loan. I think he must stay in the Premier League as him performing well will bring up media attention and it will be screamed at Tuchel right in his face. Look at the way Gallagher has been involved in the first team compared to Ampadu when they both had similar loans?
I feel for Kai, and I also don’t. Realistically, he hasn’t really shown anything in the two seasons he’s been here and a lot of the “hype” around him is still very much based off what he did in the Bundesliga.
But how much can we really blame him? He’s playing most of the time with his back to goal which simply doesn’t suit him, but he also faces a massive issue of no-one really knowing his best position: whether that’s as an 8, a 10, a false nine or an out and out striker which is the current role he’s playing.
Tammy struggled under Tuchel, Lukaku struggled, Havertz has struggled, and nothing suggests to me a new forward won’t do the same. Yes, he misses chances, but I can tell you we don’t create enough for him. He can do a lot more for himself and make life easier, but I refuse to put everything on him for now.
He’s been really frustrating and seeing him not really improve compared to the likes of Mason and Reece has been disappointing, but he’s still very young and we can just hope things somehow get better.
I unfortunately think the inevitable signing of Aubameyang will force him out of the club, at least on a loan deal.
It has been very difficult to tell where he lies in Tuchel’s mind with him being quite injured in pre-season and in training recently. On that note though, you do have to remember this is a player who Tuchel couldn’t give assurances to and was set to join West Ham permanently until something drastically switched.
Whoever was advising Armando was completely going down the wrong path in my opinion (and it’s also a shame Tuchel couldn’t convince him to stay originally) as he was so close to leaving despite being second choice striker to Havertz, which eventually would have led to quite a few minutes in blue. He honestly wouldn’t have had to do too much to get a starting place in the team, if Tuchel was to play on merit that was.
Like I said before though, it’s very clear we want a forward or two and I can very much see Broja end up at Everton with them desperately looking for someone of his profile. It would also make sense with Anthony Gordon coming the other way…
And on that note, we are finally onto the final discussion. Thomas Tuchel. The Gaffer.
All I’m going to say is we desperately need a Director of Football, and quickly. Let Tuchel do the coaching and just give him a set of players to work with. That will work a lot better than him trying to get involved with this transfer business – although I fully understand he has to at the moment with a new owner and the likes of Marina & Cech leaving the club.
Aubameyang – it just screams Higuain 2.0 doesn’t it? A player who was once good for the manager coming back and trying to show what they can do. When you have Broja, I really don’t see the need for this signing. Two years ago, I was all for Pierre, but I do wonder if his time has gone and whether people have actually watched him at Barcelona.
Midfielder: Tuchel has slightly lost the plot on this one. I fully understand him not being able to switch to a four at the back with us not having a defensive profile in midfield, but to then go and say we don’t need a new midfielder is ludicrous.
The numbers are certainly not an issue, but the profiles are. Also, I’m not having the excuse of him playing up to the media because this time last Summer he was screaming for a midfielder and ended up with his choice Saul, and he also has spent the last two months publicly pleading for defenders (and rightly so).
Anthony Gordon is just an odd signing. I do quite like the player and think he would bring something to us, but in absolutely no way different to what someone like Hudson-Odoi or Gallagher would be able to do in the attacking role, or even someone like Hutchinson after a year or two of coaching. A £60m price tag is pretty crazy too. 100% see it finalising later this week though.
I mentioned it enough times in our recent podcast episodes, but dropping Harvey Vale and Billy Gilmour to the U21s in pre-season to “maintain training levels” was another example of some terrible management. I honestly cannot be asked to rant about it again, so please do have a listen if you have the time.
And we’re finally done…if you’ve made it this far – wow, and thank you. There’s a lot to talk about the moment and naturally you’ll have different opinions so please do send them to my personal account or tag us on @TheChelseaSpot!
In our latest episode of The Chelsea Spot Podcast, Paree (Owner – @CFCParee) was joined by Dan (Admin – @danbarkzr_) & Sairam (Writer – @ftblsairam) to discuss the second version of the Battle of the Bridge, as well as the latest transfer news. From a potential boxing card between Thomas Tuchel and Antonio Conte, to what we have heard on the likes of Zaha, Anthony Gordon, Callum Hudson-Odoi, Armando Broja and a lot more!
In our latest episode of The Chelsea Spot Podcast, Paree (Owner – @CFCParee) was joined by Dan (Admin – @danbarkzr_) & Orlando (Admin – @0rland1nho) to discuss everything going on in the transfer window. The boys talked about the exciting news of Chukwuemeka joining the Blues while answering your questions, and also talked about Cucurella, Fofana and De Jong. We also revealed some exclusive transfer news about two names…
In our latest episode of The Chelsea Spot Podcast, Paree (Owner – @CFCParee) was joined by Aleksander (Guest – @alelcsander) to discuss all things academy. The boys talked about last season, the new head coach appointment, the players to look out for the in the U23s and U18s as well as the players out on loan! We went into a lot of detail so if you’re interested in the academy, it’s the perfect listen. FYI: This episode was recorded on 27/07/2022. By the time this episode has been released, some of the situations for the players may have changed.
In our latest episode of The Chelsea Spot Podcast, Paree (Owner – @CFCParee) was joined by Raph (Guest – @raphhh___) & Peter (Guest – @23Pankovski) to discuss Chelsea’s disgraceful 4-0 loss to Arsenal in pre-season, just two weeks before the official season begins. The boys discussed playing with a 4atb formation, Kai Havertz’s performances up top, Tuchel’s massive hypocrisy in his post match press conference and the academy’s pre-season so far!