Chelsea need only look across London to see how youth can energise a soccer club. Indeed, Arsenal mounted a title challenge as the youngest team in last season’s Premier
Mauricio Pochettino has been hired to implement that culture change with the Argentine a frequent advocate of youth throughout his managerial career. Chelsea want to get younger before the start of next season and Pochettino could be the man to make that happen. The process has already started.
Ageing players like N’Golo Kante, Kalidou Koulibaly, Mateo Kovacic and Cesar Azpilicueta have either left Chelsea or are in the process of leaving. This follows the sale of Jorginho to Arsenal in January. Having spent so much money on new players since Todd Boehly’s takeover of the club last year, Chelsea are acting quickly to clear the decks this summer.
Chelsea’s determination to get younger is also evident in the players they are targeting in the transfer market this summer. Most notably, the Blues reportedly want to sign 22-year-old Nicolas Jackson from Villarreal to be their new number nine. Most expect a deal to be completed for the Senegalese international soon.
It’s not just in the players Chelsea are signing, but in the players they are keeping too. Levi Colwill enjoyed an encouraging campaign on loan at Brighton last season with the Seagulls keen to keep the young defender permanently. To date, though, Chelsea have rejected any offers made for Colwill. Pochettino wants to use him.
Lewis Hall is another youngster who could receive substantial game time at Chelsea this season with the left back catching the eye towards of last term. Factor in some of the young players signed by Chelsea over the last 12 months – Wesley Fofana, Enzo Fernandez, Mykhailo Mudryk, Benoit Badiashille, Noni Madueke, Carney Chukwuemeka – and Pochettino has a lot to mould with.
There are still some key areas where Chelsea are still to find solutions. The Blues clearly want a defence-minded midfielder to play alongside Fernandez while a new goalkeeper could be on the shopping list after the departure of Edouard Mendy to Al Ahli in the Saudi Pro League. Work is still to be done.
Last season was a write off for Chelsea. However, the players signed by the club could still help give them an identity and a new direction under Pochettino as their new manager. The Argentine’s Tottenham Hotspur team was renowned for its energy and youthful exuberance and Chelsea could have those same qualities this season.