Under Roman Abramovich, Chelsea have often been a club with sights set firmly on the present and not always the long-term. While the Blues are renowned for their saturated loan system, academy players have often been drip-fed first team football.
However, Guus Hiddink’s reign this season has opened the door for change and youth has flooded through it. Burkina Faso international Betrand Traore has perhaps been the biggest beneficiary of this new club ethos.
With four goals in his last six appearances, the 20-year-old has proven a more than suitable back-up for the potent Diego Costa.
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Despite this, the inevitable arrival of a new manger in the summer may threaten the longevity of this new trust in youth. Chelsea must avoid the temptation of investing in a big-money striker or face losing a player who could benefit them for years.
For all the negative publicity Chelsea attract over the calamitous Loic Remy and Radamel Falcao, it’s easy to forget the two quality strikers the club does in fact harbour.
Under Hiddink, Costa and Traore have been a lethal duo. Albeit the club’s 4-2-3-1 formation seeing the pair rarely feature together, they have both been hammering in the goals in recent months.
Despite Champions League elimination, the club is defying expectations in clambering up the Premier League table so swiftly. The Stamford Bridge side’s strikers have been key to this and Traore particularly upon stepping up to the gauntlet by scoring in Costa’s absence against Stoke City last weekend.
For many players it takes weeks if not months to adapt to Premier League football but Traore has taken to it like a duck to water.
Consequently, in the Burkina Faso international and of course Costa, the club already possesses two top strikers. On current form, the Blues should find themselves more than content with their current offensive arsenal.
Despite this rich vein of form, Chelsea have still been doused in rumours linking them to big-money forwards such as Edinson Cavani. Moreover, with Antonio Conte believed to be inheriting the managerial hot-seat in the summer, it’s understood that the Italian may make a transfer raid on the Serie A.
While this may prove a wise decision, on the other hand it could be an unnecessary gamble that may see the club take a step backwards.
The striking position is not where Chelsea need to improve - Costa and Traore’s recent goal scoring records show this. The Blues must in fact draw their attention to their flanks with Eden Hazard continuing to choke and the squad being emaciated of full backs.
Above all, the future of Traore at the club could be jeopardised. Only one striker tends to make the starting XI at one time at Chelsea, so being demoted to third-choice could see the 20-year-old left in the reserves.
In doing so, the Blues would be neglecting a player who looks set to have a very promising future in west London. Besides, if he can show such electric form at age 20, the Burkina Faso international could reach even dizzier heights in the future.
Now, more than ever, the Blues need to look long-term after the debacle of this season and spending big in areas already rich with talent will simply smother the upcoming youth.
Chelsea are thriving amidst players like Traore being introduced into the side, it would be counter intuitive for them to suddenly neglect the prospects of these starlets by getting trigger-happy in the transfer window.
Besides if Chelsea begin to brush Traore aside, there’ll be a long queue of clubs waiting in the wings, wallets in hand.
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