La Masia - no it’s not a club, nor is it a famous place as such. But the word is synonymous for a perfect youth academy. La Masia has been churning out talent after talent into the Barcelona first team.
The likes of Carles Puyol, Xavi, Andres Iniesta and Lionel Messi are all the finest of the academy! That’s not all; many other clubs, some in Spain, others abroad have also been raking in the benefits.
Most notable of which was Arsenal getting seven years out of the fantastic Cesc Fabregas before he returned to his boyhood club. It is not just Barcelona who has a fantastic youth system in place.
Real Madrid are also quite adept in producing superstars like Raul, Iker Casillas, Sergio Ramos and the likes.
Coming to England, Manchester United have been producing and nurturing fine talent into the world of football for some time now! Arsenal has also been able to match up to them to an extent.
One of the most highly regarded academies remains that of Southampton. Though they have not been able to hold on to them for long, take nothing away from them as they keep finding diamond in the rough year after year.
One only has to only look as far as Theo Walcott and Gareth Bale to get a feel of their prowess. Lately Luke Shaw has been the bone of contention between Chelsea and Manchester United.
At a time when Financial Fair Play has all but been introduced, it is important for clubs to turn to their youth academies and scouts to catch them young.
Chelsea have found it hard to recognize genuine, young talent before they explode on the big stage. They have a history of letting talented youngsters leave only to rue their decision. Carlton Cole, Robert Huth and Fabio Borini were all allowed to leave and they made it big elsewhere.
Right now Chelsea have an exciting bunch of youngsters who seem promising and are raring to go! Chelsea mustn’t let them leave or ignore them for big name talents or proven players who might seem to be the right choice for them at the moment.
Chelsea fans were left confused when Daniel Sturridge, one of the most promising youngsters in the roster, was allowed to join Liverpool! What is even more perplexing is the fact that they went into the market and brought in Newcastle Striker Demba Ba, who was ineligible to play in the Europa League.
The more logical approach would have been to keep hold of Sturridge and let him fill in as the centre forward along with Fernando Torres.
Though Ba has scored some spectacular goals for the Blues, who’s to say that Sturridge wouldn’t have done the same! This after he had shone on loan at Bolton the season before and predicted by many to be a revelation!
This year, another forward Romelu Lukaku has been garnering praise for his fantastic performances for West Bromwich Albion, most notably his hat-trick against the Champions Manchester United at home on the last day of the season.
He has shown that he is capable of leading the attack on his own and could follow the footsteps of his idol and Chelsea legend, Didier Drogba!
Kevin de Bruyne is another Chelsea loanee who has impressed one and all with his performances on the field. He is currently embroiled in a tug of war between Bayer Leverkusen and Borussia Dortmund who are vying for his signature! Chelsea seem reluctant to let go of the youngster and rightly so.
A loan move to Leverkusen would be ideal from a Chelsea perspective, but the youngster seems to be holding out for a permanent move to the Champions League finalists..
Another star in the making is Atletico Madrid shot stopper Thibaut Courtois on loan from Chelsea for the past two seasons! Atletico has been trying to sign the youngster on a permanent basis but to no avail.
There have suggestions that they would let Chelsea speak to their star striker Radamel Falcao if Courtois is included in the deal. But what is important for Chelsea to remember is that a striker might be easily replaced or be done without, but a good goal keeper is hard to get by.
This has been evident in the last couple of seasons, where Chelsea lost games they should have won hands down because of an injury to custodian Petr Cech and no quality replacement.
Ryan Bertrand, Oriol Romeu, Josh McEachran, Lucas Piazon, Nathaniel Chalobah are other young talents waiting to be called upon. They have not been able to showcase their talent to the fullest, but it is no understatement when it’s said that the senior members are in serious danger of falling down the pecking order.
With a new manager coming up to take charge, it is the perfect opportunity for the youngsters to stand up and show their worth. This could also help Chelsea spend a lot less in the summer and maybe in the future too.
Whether Chelsea continue their carefree spending in the transfer market, or stick up to their young guns, one thing is certain: these youngsters have the world at their feet. What Chelsea needs to understand is that they are destined for big things with Chelsea or otherwise.
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