Despite having one of the world’s best youth academies, Chelsea have gathered plenty of criticism and anger from a number of different rival clubs, supporters and critics in the media over the past few years for their trend of stockpiling young players.
This is mainly due to the fact that their system when it comes to the best young talent, seems flawed but moves by UEFA could put an end to it all.
They tend to enjoy a lot of success at youth level, but those players rarely ever get a chance in the first-team and can often find themselves in a tough situation at the age of 19 to 22, where they’re trying to develop with regular minutes but find themselves constantly going out on loan spells – which isn’t always beneficial for a player’s growth in the long-term future.
There are a number of notable players, but Lucas Piazon (Fulham) turns 23 in January and the forward is a perfect example of what can happen when you’re constantly loaned out and have no stability in your playing career.
They signed the Brazilian on a pre-contract in the early months of 2011 to beat a handful of Europe’s top clubs, including Juventus, yet he’s managed just 16 minutes of Premier League football since a breakthrough and FA Youth Cup triumph.
In an article published by the Guardian at the start of November, FIFA president Gianni Infantino has said that a clean-up of the transfer system is needed, as well as an end to loopholes which mean it’s possible for top sides such as Chelsea to have dozens of players out on loan across the world.
Infantino said, “After 15 years it is time to seriously revise it and bring it a little more transparency and a little more clarity.”
Chelsea have often bought players simply so that rivals are unable to sign them, and loaning those players out is seen as a productive way (in most cases) of giving them a chance to play and potentially increase their market value. Very rarely though, does the player come back and break into the first-team.
Senegalese centre-back Papy Djilobodji was a player signed in September last year and managed only 1 minute of competitive first-team football (League Cup) before joining Bundesliga side Werder Bremen on a loan in the following January window.
Sunderland then signed him in the first week of August this year, and he’s already made 11 appearances this season, including 8 in the Premier League.
On the subject of the loophole, Infantino said, “I believe it is not right but it is permitted. It doesn’t feel right, for a club to just hoard the best young players and then to park them left and right, it’s not good for the development of the player, it’s not good for the club itself.”
With the reality that hefty sanctions may be put in place to deter clubs from trying to exploit loopholes in future, there’s a good chance that Chelsea’s stockpiling days are gradually coming to a halt, which will prove beneficial for everyone.