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Chelsea FC: Vision 2030 is a statement of where Blues are in new era

Chelsea are not a club renowned for their long-term planning. Even in the post-Roman Abramovich era, the club continue to make what appear to be fairly rash decisions, such as signing Pierre-Emerck Aubameyang and then sacking Thomas Tuchel with almost the same breath.

 

Still, something is bubbling under the surface.

 

The new Todd Boehly-Clearlake Capital regime are putting their trust in Head of Youth Development Neil Bath as the club work towards what is being billed as ‘Vision 2030’.

 

Cesare Casadei became the final addition in an ambitious summer of spending to strengthen their academy ranks. Seen as a long-term heir to N’Golo Kante and Jorginho (both of whom have entered the final year of their contracts), the Italian will likely split duties to appearing in some matchday squads at senior level while playing regularly in Premier League 2.

 

The Italian has followed attacking midfielder Omari Hutchinson (previously of Arsenal), Eddie Beach (a goalkeeper from Southampton), Aston Villa’s £20m midfielder Carney Chukwuemeka and Brighton defender Zak Sturge into Stamford Bridge. Everton’s Anthony Gordon is another target, while the highly-rated Harvey Vale has been touted for a big career at the top level.

 

There is a hope the new signings can plug gaps in the first-team when they emerge, learning their craft at senior level all while gelling together in the youth ranks, thereby creating a team ready and raring to go in the years to come. Masterminded at the club’s Cobham training base, it has been one of the key priorities during the busiest summer at Chelsea since 2003.

 

As wealthy and ambitious as the new owners are, the budding strategy is a message of sorts. During the Abramovich years, Chelsea could afford to waste money on signings. On so many occasions, analysing their bench was really rather astounding, as onlookers totted up the combined cost of the sullen-looking outcasts never likely to play during lulls of whatever game the team were playing. A long-running joke reflecting on grotesque transfer fees, agent payments and wage packets gone to absolute waste.

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Now, the internal solutions are already there, or will be soon at least. Plenty of trust has been put into the young cavalry, but Graham Potter faces a job in keeping them happy. Highly rated talents and players who fielded plenty of interest from elsewhere before joining Chelsea, maintaining morale with promises of the future will certainly be a hard task.

 

In two years’ time, perhaps some noses will be put out of joint. Chukwuemeka, after all, is the highest-paid teenage footballer in England. How feasible is it to keep him as a back-up option for the foreseeable future?

 

Clearly, the Boehly-Clearlake group have the funds to spend big. Still, these are investors and people who want to see a return on their money, with Abramovich’s free-spending no matter the cost a thing of the past.

 

In order to avoid short-term fixes (apart from this summer), looking to the future seems a smart idea. Liverpool, after all, have nothing like the financial power Chelsea and Manchester City boast, yet continue to compete and conquer.

 

On paper, Vision 2030 is a fascinating project. Reality, however, tends to offer sobering thoughts at pretty much every turn.

 

Either way, this is uncharted territory for the club. Having lived in the moment for so long under the previous regime, just how palatable will it be to look ahead, planning for battles to come rather than putting themselves in every possible scrap for whatever competition provides the best avenue for success?

 

Clearly, only time will tell on that front and football can change very quickly, just as Chelsea found out earlier this year.

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