Youth development, Chelsea and Jose Mourinho don’t always go together, but the announcement from the Portuguese manager regarding Romelu Lukaka, Kevin De Bruyne and to a lesser extent, Tomas Kalas, means maybe wasting money on expensive signings isn’t the way to go, and starting to use the impressive youth talents reservoir the club assembled over the past few years is finally happening.
With the transfer market not being too welcoming to Mourinho in his new-old job at Chelsea, a different approach might lead to better results than last season. After all, despite all of the team’s problems up front, in defense, in the midfield and when it came to depth, Chelsea still finished third in the Premier League and came out with a European title.
Make no mistake, the English Premier League is weakening – in its appeal, in its quality, and it takes less to win a championship, especially with Alex Ferguson stepping down from his Manchester United job, and it’s going to be very difficult for David Moyes to emulate the same kind of consistency with a squad that on paper, considering the individual abilities of the players, shouldn’t be number one or even two in the league.
And Chelsea are doing the smart thing with their young players, who spent last season (or more) on loan, and that’s before we even talk about Thiabut Courtois, who might be better than Petr Cech right now, but will have to spend another season on loan at Atletico Madrid.
Lukaku might be better than both Demba Ba or Fernando Torres right now. He was more productive than them while playing for West Brom last season, scoring 17 league goals in 35 matches, and the day of his debut league goal for Chelsea isn’t far away, after making 8 appearances for the club during his first season.
Kevin De Bruyne seemed on his way out to one of the German sides. He had a fantastic season for Werder Bremen in Germany, scoring 10 goals and adding 9 assists, which led to a lot of interest from Bayer Leverkusen and Borussia Dortmund. He’ll probably find it harder to fit in the lineup compared with Lukaku, due to the competition he has to face in Hazard, Mata and Oscar, but as another example of golden Belgian generation, he should be talented enough to get more than cameo appearances next season.
Chelsea aren’t done making signings and improvements, but bringing back Lukaku, De Bruyne and Kalas is almost like three completely new signings, who will definitely improve Chelsea’s chances of winning the title for the first time since 2010.