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Champions League: in Chelsea, the Baby Blues take power

Before facing Juventus on Tuesday in the Champions League (9 p.m.), Chelsea, leader of the Premier League, will once again be able to count on its young people, symbols of a successful academy.

Large winner of Leicester (3-0) on Saturday, Chelsea, more than ever leader of the Premier League, wants to take revenge against Juventus this Tuesday in the Champions League (9 p.m.). Thomas Tuchel’s team lost in Turin (1-0) on September 29. If the German coach can rely on experienced players such as Thiago Silva (36 years old), César Azpilicueta (32 years old), or N’Golo Kanté (30 years old), this season young people also have their card to play. Which has not always been the case in the past.

Since its takeover by Roman Abramovich in 2003, the English club has become one of the richest in the world (its value is estimated at 2.69 billion euros according to the Forbes ranking), which has enabled it for years to spend lavishly on the transfer market. As a result, the training center was completely neglected. But for some time now, the “financial fair playHas been there and the Blues have been forced to review their policy. From now on, they rely more on their academy where many talents reside.

A rejuvenation cure

In the Village of Stoke d’Abernon nestles a place called “Cobham Training Center“. This is where the first team’s training takes place, just in front of the academy. Considered for years one of the best in Europe, Chelsea’s academy is full of talented young players who are eager to hatch. The U23 team also has a very impressive track record, including two UEFA Youth League and nine FA Youth Cups. Unlimited potential that has not always been taken advantage of.

SEE ALSO – Mason Mount’s top 5 goals at Chelsea

The leaders of London had gold in their hands, without realizing it. But in February 2019, the club found itself banned from recruiting by FIFA for breaking the rules on transfers of minors. From that date, everything changed. The legend of the Blues Frank Lampard is called to the rescue a few months later to launch a new project, the training center will hold a prominent place. The English coach will have greatly contributed to the emergence of certain “Baby blues“.

The most famous of them is undoubtedly Mason Mount (22 years old). Undisputed holder this season, the British midfielder has everything to become the figurehead of this “newChelsea. A true master at playing the Blues, his very good vision of the game and his passing quality are reminiscent of a certain Frank Lampard, to whom he is often compared. The England international is one of the crown’s brightest jewels, along with Reece James (21).

Designated successor of an aging Azpilicueta, the Three Lions player quickly established himself in this team as “piston», Dear to Thomas Tuchel. Swift, fast, powerful, versatile … He has all the characteristics of a modern full-back and excels in attack, as in defense in his right lane where he reigns supreme (he has already scored 4 goals and delivered 5 assists in all competitions. this season).

SEE ALSO – The best of Callum Hudson-Odoi at Chelsea

And then, without being full holders, other pure products of the center are frequently used by the former technician of the PSG. We think in particular of Callum Hudson-Odoi (21), the winger with a tumultuous character, or Trevoh Chalobah (22), the promising central defender. Other more assertive talents such as Ruben Loftus-Cheek (25) and Andreas Christensen (25) also have their cards to play this season.

Happiness is in the loan

This strategy of focusing on young people is to be linked to the “player trading“, Practiced by the double winners of the Champions League for years. Londoners find young talents around the world, which they lend each season in order to promote them. However, for some time, the novelty has been that the best now have the chance to return to Chelsea to try to win there.

Selected for the first time with England at the last meeting, Conor Gallagher is the perfect example. Sent on loan to the neighboring club Crystal Palace, where he demonstrates the full extent of his talent, the native of Epsom should return to his training club at the end of the season in order to find a place in the bloated workforce of the Blues.

Many players who have gone through the academy have not been so lucky. Captain of the very good West Ham team, Declan Rice impresses this season and must feed great regret to Chelsea (who tried to bring him back, without success). Tammy Abraham (AS Roma) and Fikayo Tomori (AC Milan), both transferred last summer, found their happiness in Italy, just like the Franco-Ivorian Jérémie Boga who shines in Sassuolo since 2018.

The “trading», A clever and lucrative process that is not about to stop. And for good reason, twenty-two players are currently on loan from Chelsea around the world. Nicknamed “Loan army“, This parallel workforce is not to everyone’s taste. The main detractors of the London club consider this policy abnormal and unequal. Everyone will make their own opinion.

A real gold mine

Suffering from his reputation as “new richLike Paris Saint-Germain or Manchester City, Chelsea should not be placed in the same category as these clubs. If indeed the Blues have often heated the wallet, they also excel in player sales (which is not the case with the clubs mentioned above), and that few people know.

With the exception of Victor Moses and Olivier Giroud, Chelsea’s main summer sales this year have been to club-trained players. TWITTER

This summer, in order to finalize the very expensive arrival of Belgian Inter Milan striker Romelu Lukaku (recruited for around 100 million euros), the London club have chosen to part with a number of players. in order to balance the books. Among them, no less than five young people from the academy, most of whom have very little, or not at all, played with the first team. These sales allowed the Blues to collect nearly 108 million euros.

Finances that are doing wonderfully, a team that is running at full speed … Everything seems to smile on Thomas Tuchel’s gang, who were enthusiastic about having so much quality at their disposal: “This is a crucial point and I am absolutely delighted with the quality of the academy. It is very important that we trust them and do not confuse inexperience with lack of quality. They will have every chance to leave their mark here», He declared at a press conference on February 3.

Mason Mount, Reece James and Callum Hudson-Odoi have a good chance of setting foot on Stamford Bridge on Tuesday against Juve. With their eyes riveted on qualification, the “Baby bluesWill have to be as intractable in the Champions League as they are in the league. It is up to them not to miss each other if they want to silence the remaining skeptics.


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