Let us be honest with ourselves; there has been no prominent youth product coming into our first team since John Terry.
Roman has spent millions in investing in our youth academy – We employed Frank Arnesen as Sporting Director to replicate Ajax renowned youth system at Chelsea. Arnesen drew up a 5-year plan; we were supposed to reap the fruits of labor starting with last season.
The following players earned promotion to the first team: McEachrun, Bruma, Borini, Van Aanholt and Kakuta. Let us see what happened since then. Borini did not make a single first team appearance last season in all competitions. When we were struggling for goals at certain points last season, Borini who was in top form for the reserves was never brought into the game to show his worth. The reason why Borini did not get game time because he refused to sign the rip-off contract Chelsea offered him. Who wants to be poorly paid and made to sit on bench too?
Bruma made only two appearances for us in the league last season. He would have only made an appearance if we had not run short of defenders. Alex’s injury and Ivanovic reaching the yellow card limit forced Carlo to play him. Can you believe Carlo chose to play Ferreira at center back over Bruma the week before Bruma made his second league appearance? Bruma did not do enough to impress Carlo and so we sent him on to Leicester City in January. There is rumor flying that Arnesen will leave to Hamburg with Bruma.
Van Aanholt made six appearances for Chelsea last season. Out of the six, three were game starts and three were substitution appearances. He started one Carling Cup, one FA Cup and one Champions league game. The three sub appearances came in the Champions league. Van Aanholt has been one of our few lucky youth. He has signed a new contract so there is still hope for him. We have sent him on loan on three occasions – I just hope we do not treat him like Scot Sinclair.
We received a lot of negative publicity signing Kakuta from Lens. We nearly faced a transfer window ban for signing him. You would think after all that hustle; we would give him much game time. Kakuta made one start and four substitute premier league appearances for us. In total, he made four game starts and nine bench starts in all competition for us before we sent him on loan to Fulham. He made two game starts and five substitute appearances for Fulham.
McEachran is the only youth player to have had it good this season. He has had the most appearances amongst our youth products. He has one start and eight substitution appearances in the premier league. He has made two starts and four sub appearances in Champions league games. He is the only youth player in our first team that was not sent on loan. Every Chelsea fan knows the boy has the potential to become an excellent player but it will not happen if we do not play him often.
Chelsea has been in need of a right-winger for seasons now; our academy produces Miroslav Stoch. Stoch is very promising; he can play on both wings and is full Slovakia international. The kid even made it to his country’s world cup squad and what does our club do? Our club sells him to Fernerbache for 5.5million euros and buys Benayoun. The Israeli is injury prone and he struggled to make it to Liverpool’s first team. We chose Benayoun over a promising Stoch who showed he could 45 games a season at Twente. In addition, Stoch would not have demanded what Benayoun gets as salary. McEachran even made more appearances than Benayoun did last season.
Manceinne has been on loan from Chelsea for four years. Players sign four-year contracts not go on loan for four years. If he is good enough, he should have returned to Chelsea to play instead he has been deemed not good aenough and sold-on. A similiar situation with Scot Sinclair who we sold to Swansea last season after we sending him on loan to six different clubs in three years!
Our Chelsea youth will not magically turn great; we have to give them the right opportunities. United has a good blend of youth and old players in their team. I do not see why we cannot achieve the same at Chelsea. It is time our board stopped paying lip service to youth. In the last two seasons, our youth have won the FA Youth Cup and the Reserve league. What else do they want to our youth to do before we give them proper chances?