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Great news but what to make of all the Varane stories? With an army of highly promising CBs already on the books vying for squad places behind JT, Gary & Brana what are the implications for the squad?

I'm all in favour of acquiring quality whenever it's available so, with Jose having spoken highly about Varane in the past, I suppose we must do that deal if it's there to be done. That would relegate Brana to 4th choice so what then for the younger CBs.?

My personal feeling is that it's purely space filling paper talk.

There are some deals that look likely, but the journos can't keep repeating that player x is moving to team y every day, so they have to find something else to write about in the remaining weeks before the World Cup starts.

Varane hasn't been used much at Madrid... mainly due to him being injured and then recovering from injury and having to displace a reasonably settled back four. However, you don't see that part of the story being mentioned; just the "has struggled to start" line followed by how Mourinho was the one who gave him his chance. With Luiz on his way to PSG, Chelsea obviously need a replacement (notwithstanding the fact that we currently have Ivanovic and Kalas as back ups and Kurt Zouma was bought in January, as well as there being players in the U21s r out on loan who have the potential to getting game time next season or the one after next)

I'm sure that Mourinho would have thought about Varane (and Mangala) as long-term replacements for JT. However, the likely cost of bringing in such players meant we went for Zouma instead.

When all's said and done, it's just lazy journalism. Luiz is being sold, therefore Chelsea need a replacement, so who might be available? Choose a newspaper and one day we're being linked with Varane, a few days later with Benatia, then Mangala, then Varane again and so on and so on and... :-)

Edited by Bob Singleton

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Yeah, Varane for me is a non-starter. IMO, it's agent talk for trying to get the kid a wage hike. He's half way into a 6 year contract, just started a CL final and wants to be shown the money.

Chelsea, again, used as the bogeyman.

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Sarin   

Article on Chelsea FC about the youth teams last season called THE YOUNG GENERATION

http://www.chelseafc.com/news-article/article/3946432/title/the-young-generation

Including

The 2013/14 season was one of unprecedented achievement on the pitch for the teams of various ages fielded by Chelsea Football Club's Academy.

Most high-profile were our Under-18s and Under-21s, with the younger of those sides memorably capturing the FA Youth Cup in a two-legged final thriller against their equivalents from down the road at Fulham. The Under-21s were undisputed national champions having first topped the 22-team table after the regular league fixtures were completed, and then beating Manchester City at the Etihad and Manchester United at Old Trafford in the play-offs to decide who claimed the trophy. Chelsea's Under-13s, Under-15s and Under-16s collected trophies too.

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Interesting comments from Jose about the immediate futures of some younger players.

There is no doubt the young players who have been part of the trip to date have impressed, not only with their performances during matches, but also their attitude and application in training.

Mourinho expects to bring a couple of them into the first-team squad for the coming campaign, and believes the future is bright.

‘We are going to have (Andreas) Christensen and (Nathan) Ake, who are coming from the Academy,’ he said. ‘We are going to have training with us, but also playing for the Under-21 team, (Dominic) Solanke, (Jeremie) Boga and (Izzy) Brown.

‘The other ones who are a bit older, 20 or 21, we feel they need to compete against men in a different league, people like Bamford, Swift, Chalobah. They are ready to go to other clubs and have a good loan.

‘What we are trying to do, and we believe we are going to be successful, is in a few years’ time, when they are between 20 and 23, we will have them back at the right moment and in the first-team squad.’

  • Working with Jose but playing for the development sides is exactly what I wanted to see happen with Jed.
  • I'm also pleased as punch for Dom Solanke and Izzy Brown that they'll get the same opportunity.
  • Happy that Jose has not been trapped by his pre-season comment last year about Nate being a part of the squad this season. I always felt that statement was intended to boost the lad but never felt Nate would be ready.
  • Chuffed for Swifty, he made good progress last season and should certainly earn a useful loan to a Football League team. I wonder though if Southampton could be persuaded to take a look at him?
  • I think another loan is the right choice for Patrick. He's done himself justice in pre-season but I can't shake the feeling that he'll find it hard to make the step up with us.
  • The situation for Nathan is a little complicated I think. He's likely to be third choice left-back, sixth choice centre-back and goodness knows what number in the CM pecking order. There has to be a doubt that he'll get enough first team minutes to keep him happy and progressing.
  • Having not been around the first team as long as Nathan, I think being fifth choice centre-back and maybe third choice right-back will be more satisfying for Andreas. I think stepping back to the junior sides for minutes will be more acceptable to him emotionally than I would expect to be the case with Nathan.
Edited by Bridgejunky

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jones   
  • Working with Jose but playing for the development sides is exactly what I wanted to see happen with Jed.
  • I'm also pleased as punch for Dom Solanke and Izzy Brown that they'll get the same opportunity.
  • Happy that Jose has not been trapped by his pre-season comment last year about Nate being a part of the squad this season. I always felt that statement was intended to boost the lad but never felt Nate would be ready.
  • Chuffed for Swifty, he made good progress last season and should certainly earn a useful loan to a Football League team. I wonder though if Southampton could be persuaded to take a look at him?
  • I think another loan is the right choice for Patrick. He's done himself justice in pre-season but I can't shake the feeling that he'll find it hard to make the step up with us.
  • The situation for Nathan is a little complicated I think. He's likely to be third choice left-back, sixth choice centre-back and goodness knows what number in the CM pecking order. There has to be a doubt that he'll get enough first team minutes to keep him happy and progressing.
  • Having not been around the first team as long as Nathan, I think being fifth choice centre-back and maybe third choice right-back will be more satisfying for Andreas. I think stepping back to the junior sides for minutes will be more acceptable to him emotionally than I would expect to be the case with Nathan.

Have to say I agree with basically everything you say here. Good post. Very interesting comments indeed from Jose, and while Ake was no surprise really, I am excited that Christensen too is "in it". Highly regarded, but I always thought he looked a bit "fragile" (at least next to Zouma), which obviously would improve with age and physical training. Anyway, if he was not physically ready he would not have been in the mix, so I trust the club.

The bold part I disagree with. While you may be right that Ake will be picked on LB after both Luis and Azpi may be true, I would rather say he is the 4th choice full back, given Azpilicueta’s versatility. Two of the four (Luis, Ivan, Azpi, Ake) will always play, so expect there will be games for him on the LB. Also, he is the kind of player that can be used as a “Mikel option” late in the games, when we need to see out a victory. I honestly would not be surprised to see him get at least 3-5 starts and 7-10 sub appearances. Definitely seem to be a LB in Jose’s eyes though, and I think his height excludes him from the CB mix.

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Have to say I agree with basically everything you say here. Good post. Very interesting comments indeed from Jose, and while Ake was no surprise really, I am excited that Christensen too is "in it". Highly regarded, but I always thought he looked a bit "fragile" (at least next to Zouma), which obviously would improve with age and physical training. Anyway, if he was not physically ready he would not have been in the mix, so I trust the club.

The bold part I disagree with. While you may be right that Ake will be picked on LB after both Luis and Azpi may be true, I would rather say he is the 4th choice full back, given Azpilicueta’s versatility. Two of the four (Luis, Ivan, Azpi, Ake) will always play, so expect there will be games for him on the LB. Also, he is the kind of player that can be used as a “Mikel option” late in the games, when we need to see out a victory. I honestly would not be surprised to see him get at least 3-5 starts and 7-10 sub appearances. Definitely seem to be a LB in Jose’s eyes though, and I think his height excludes him from the CB mix.

Thanks Jones,

Agree about Nathan being fourth choice full-back; that is a better way to look at it. It's good to see some joined up thinking in that Nathan has clearly been groomed as a left-back under instruction from TSO with a view to him fulfilling exactly this role.

Notwithstanding what you say about his size viz centre-back, I still feel that LB is the worst of the three functions Nathan has to offer. He's learning but he's just not a natural. I'd say CM is his best position but sixth choice CB will amount to pretty much the same thing as being excluded from that position.

Surprisingly perhaps, given my overall view of Mikel, I actually like him in the situational role you describe. I think extra experience and physicality give MJO an edge over Nathan for that job but, even so, I'd be happy to see Nathan handed the opportunity to grow into the role. I guess you and I would agree however that whether this will happen depends on how the squad looks on 2nd September. If all of MJO, MVG, Rami & Romeu are still here, Jose may feel pressure to find roles and time for them before turning to Nathan. Three of them, including the man himself of course, would claim to be able to play the Mikel role.

Edited by Bridgejunky

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Also no mention of Baker. I wonder if he'll be kept around or we'll try to find a loan for him. I reckon the latter is probably the better option at the moment.

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