On June 22nd 2011 after weeks of speculation and a substantial transfer fee Chelsea finally appointed one of the most promising managers in European football Andre Villas-Boas. Paying him an estimated £4.5 million a year it is clear that Roman Abramovich sees Villas-Boas as the right man to bring the elusive Champions League trophy to Stamford Bridge. But with a squad whose key members are all the wrong side of 30 should Villas-Boas give youth its chance at Chelsea? Or will the chairman’s desire for immediate success prevent talented youngsters such as Daniel Sturridge and Josh McEachran being given the required game time?
Despite recent domestic success including 3 league titles, 3 F.A Cups and 2 league cups one prize eludes Chelsea, the Champions League. This has lead to six mangers being shown the door by Roman Abramovich including Carlo Ancelotti and ‘The Special One’ Jose Mourinho. It’s clear to see the Chelsea chairman is not a patient man and immediate success is almost a prerequisite when taking the managers job at the club. This subsequent approach has led to big money being spent at Chelsea forcing young players at the club to move away for first team experience.
One thing is clear Chelsea do possess some of the most exciting young players in the Premiership with the aforementioned Sturridge who enjoyed a highly successful loan spell at Bolton Wanderers last season scoring 8 goals in 12 appearances. Josh McEachran is another precocious talent who has recently received glowing praise from England Under21 manager Stuart Pearce and ex Chelsea assistant Ray Wilkins. Wilkins has even stated in a recent interview that McEachran should be given a run in the Chelsea’s team given the recent injury to Michael Essien. The Ghanaian midfielder picked up a knee injury which will see him miss at least six months of the season and many believe McEachran could be the answer. The emergence of these two players along with the recent additions of Belgian goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, Barcelona youngster Oriol Romeu and declared interest in Anderlecht striker Romelu Lukaku Villas-Boas definitely looks to be building for the future.
With the likes of John Terry, Frank Lampard, Nicholas Anelka and Dider Drogba all in the twilight of their careers, this season looks to be the ideal time for youth to be given a chance at Chelsea. But is Villas-Boas bold enough? And will the Chairman hold off his relentless pursuit of European football’s most coveted prize to allow for this period of transition at the club.
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