5 ways Chelsea can keep up with the Manchester clubs
While the Premier League title in 2016/17 went to Stamford Bridge and Chelsea, the general consensus right now – and the current Premier League table tends to agree – is that the power balance in English football lies firmly within Manchester.
City and United currently have the two managers with the biggest reputations in Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho and they’ve also shown time and time again that they’re willing to spend the most money in order to secure some of the world’s best players. Can anyone keep up with them?
Chelsea would like to think so, but right now it’s up in the air. Here are five steps they could take in order to make a good attempt, though.
#1. Look to their youth
It’s quite telling that in the period in which they had their most success – multiple Premier League titles and FA Cups, as well as a Champions League victory in 1999 – the spine of Manchester United’s team had come from their youth academy, the now-legendary ‘Class of 92’. While imports such as Roy Keane, Peter Schmeichel and Jaap Stam also played a massive part in the success, it was the likes of David Beckham, Gary Neville, Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs who really drove the team.
In modern-day Premier League football, it’s becoming harder and harder for youth players to break through, especially at the top level, as it’s much more commonplace for big clubs to simply buy players rather than develop them. But does this always guarantee success? The answer is no. And that’s why Chelsea should break the trend and look to their youth.
Right now English youth teams are clearly the best in the world, as the victories this year in the u17 World Cup, u19 European Championship, and u20 World Cup showed. And a lot of those players came from Chelsea’s ranks – including the likes of Mason Mount, Jay Dasilva and Fikayo Tomori. That isn’t even bringing into discussion slightly older players from Chelsea’s youth ranks such as Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Tammy Abraham, as well as overseas youngsters like Charly Musonda and Andreas Christensen.
Recently Chelsea have had a diabolical record in bringing youth players through to their first team, but by providing a proper pathway for their young stars to succeed, they could sow the seeds of future success that may well allow them to overtake the Manchester sides in the near future – especially if those two teams continue to misuse their own young talent.