Blog by: Chelsea DaftMichael Emenalo has taken time out during the international break to speak to the Official Chelsea Website about the return of Mourinho, Pre Season and our summer transfer activity (more on that later). Most importantly of all, Emenalo has explained the club’s vision with our Academy and younger players at the club.
Chelsea have been heavily criticised for the number of players we have sent out on loan in the last two seasons with six players being loan to Vitesse in the Dutch league this season alone.
Emenalo has explained why this has been happening and it’s a really good insight to the thought process behind these decisions.
He said, “When I came here six years ago we had great players but what we had below those great players were players too young and too far apart to be able to integrate them. Now we have great players and they are not so far apart. Now we have a player like Frank Lampard at 35 but then we have quality players in Ramires, John Mikel Obi, Michael Essien and Marco van Ginkel, and then we have from the Academy young players who can come in and do the job like Nathaniel Chalobah and Josh McEachran.
“We are trying to bridge the gap and at left-back now behind Ashley Cole we have Ryan Bertand but we also have Patrick van Aanholt.
“We have Romelu Lukaku who soon will be able to come back in and Juan Mata is 25, Oscar and Hazard are 22 but behind them from the Academy, in terms of age, Lewis Baker, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Jeremie Boga are not too far away.
“By the time those older guys are 27, the younger ones will be around 22 and ready. The gap is not too big and that makes it easier to bring through young players.
“We are trying to find a way because given Financial Fair Play stipulations we need to recruit young and we also need to have a reservoir of talent that we develop.
“We identified that for young players, the ages of 18 to 21 is the most difficult time as they wonder if they are good enough for the Chelsea first team and what is next for them. When they only play in the Reserves/Under-21s from 18 to 20 you don’t get them to ascend to the level where they are ready to come into the first team and do a job properly.
“We felt it is better for them at that age to go on loan to somewhere where they get visibility and good competition. For psychological and physical reasons that is the best thing to do at that age. They test themselves and they feel good about competing at a higher level, and it also gives us a chance to evaluate them and know if they are ready to come back.
“While we are doing that, the players who are very talented from 16 to 18-years-old get the opportunity to play 45 games in a very good Under-21 league, the UEFA Youth League and the FA Youth Cup. So the development from 16 to 18 is perfect because they have the right games to play, and from 18 to 21 they can go on loan and have the right games to play and it gives us the opportunity to develop them properly and to evaluate them.
“What is happening with the Under-21 league is a good thing but it still doesn’t help with a talented Chelsea player at 20. He is aspiring to a higher level if you look at Kenneth Omeruo who is not even 20 yet, or Tomas Kalas.
“The loan process at Chelsea has become very professional and a good deal of thought has gone into it.
“We don’t send players out because we are trying to recover some money, we send them because we want them to play and develop and we want to monitor them. We have a system in place, headed by me and with Eddie Newton supported by [head of player welfare] Kevin Campello, that means we keep a close eye on them and the manager knows exactly what is happening at all times.”
It’s a cracking interview isn’t it and hopefully will make the doubters realise that what Chelsea as a club is doing, is thinking and planning long term.
A players’ development is crucial and the fact that we have seen what has happened to the likes of Miroslav Stoch and Jack Cork ever since they left our club is something the club wants to try and avoid in the future.
In the first part of his interview here, Emenalo explained the situation for the younger players and the lack of game time they all had back then.
He said, “When I first came to Chelsea, the reserves had an 18-game schedule and that was not going to prepare a young player for the first team and to compete with someone like Frank Lampard who was playing 60 games, or Michael Essien who was playing 55.
It wasn’t right and it unfortunately affected some young players who were in the first team squad and weren’t playing a lot. At the end of the season some had a combined total at all levels of 16 games or even less, so you lose a season and I feel convinced that if those players over a two-year period had played 35 games a season like Lewis Baker has just done, they would be much closer to the first team than they are now.
As I say, based on what Emenalo has said here, you can see why the club had to let some of these prospects go. To their credit, Stoch and Cork in particular have flourished elsewhere.
With the complete revamp of the Academy and the U18 & U21 leagues, players now get to play a full season of games as Emenalo has explained.”
People keep mentioning the Financial Fair Play system that is coming into play soon and the effect it is going to have on football but if you look at what Emenalo has explained about our loan policy and the average age of the Chelsea first team squad now with the likes of Juan Mata, David Luiz, Oscar, Eden Hazard and Ramires, Chelsea have bought wisely.
With these purchases and our players out on loan with established clubs of a high standard, the future looks bright for Chelsea Football Club.
What do you think of what Emenalo has explained the the clubs vision?
Do post your comments below.