Winners of the FA Cup and a finalist in the Champions League, Chelsea have proven themselves to Europe that they still remain a force to be reckoned with. Roberto Di Matteo had somewhat steadied the ship since the disastrous reign of Andre Villas Boas, but problems still exist.
What Di Matteo has done is similar to a dock worker patching up an old ship. No matter how many planks he uses to cover the holes and cracks, the ship’s core is still aging and eventually, that ship will fall apart.
While Abramovich’s managers have done a great job patching up Chelsea’s team, it is obvious that the core of players that remain since Mourinho’s era have to be transitioned out. With the latest signing of Marko Marin and other players, Chelsea look to have secured a new set of youngsters to succeed the ‘old guard’.
The German international is Chelsea’s latest signing. At 23, he comes from Werder Breman, a club that has been blessed with stars such as Mesut Ozil. The young starlet has impressed along side other established stars ever since his move from Borussia Monchenglabach. Since the transfer of Ozil to Real Madrid, Marin was shifted in to the midfield. However, the youngster failed to fill the void that had been left. While many may think that both Ozil and Marin are the same players, Marin is actually a direct opposite of Ozil. Dubbed the “German Messi” because of his impressive dribbling abilities, Marin’s trickery and pace makes him an ideal winger. An unremarkable statistic of eightgoals in 87 appearances has deterred many suitors but a move to Chelsea could see him revive his career. Marin has already amassed about 200 career appearances thus far. His versatility on the right and left wing gives Chelsea options and makes him the perfect replacement for the aging Malouda.
Kevin De Bruyne
The young winger from Genk is one of Belgium’s hottest prospects. While the likes of Dries Mertens and Eden Hazard steal the limelight, De Bruyne has also made a name for himself, most notably as an instrumental part of Genk’s superb league form. At a young age of 20, De Bruyne has already shown high levels of maturity in his play. Apart from his good dribbling and long shots, the he can also create for others (34 assist in 94 apperance). His passing and vision has seen him become their main outlet of creativity. Even when he is not playing at a central position, Kevin De Bruyne offers versatility on the left and in the middle. His ability will definitely ease Mata’s burden of creating chances for the Chelsea team.
Chelsea’s very own version of a younger Drogba came to Chelsea as a renowned goal scorer and target man. While the Belgian starlet has not had many chances this season, his raw potential is evident for many to see. Built like a tank and blessed with a superb left foot, Lukaku is the epitome of the traditional cetre forward. What’s even more startling is his deceptive turn of pace which has seen him race past many defenders. Under the guidance of his hero Drogba, the he will definitely be leading the line for Chelsea in the future.
Robert Di Matteo’s reign has seen Ryan Betrand come in as the team’s left back on occasion. The young Englishman has long been an understudy to Ashley Cole, one of the world’s best. Cole’s superb form has kept others away from the first team but with Di Matteo’s rotation policy, Betrand has been given the chance to prove himself. His showings for Chelsea have been promising. Much like Cole, heoffers a good attacking threat while defending well. His tendency to push forward too much is a down side, but with more experience, Betrand can definitely become Chelsea’s next undisputed left back.
A fan favorite and star of the Chelsea Football Academy, Josh McEachran is the player that all fans would want to step up into the first team. Plagued with a lack of game time and being played out of position, the young footballer has somewhat stagnated while young star Jack Wilshere has stolen the limelight at Arsenal. His loan move to Swansea in a bid to gain more game time has failed as well as he made only four appearances because of injury. At age 19, McEachran is Chelsea’s best replacement for Frank Lampard. His skill, vision and passing ability makes him a great playmaker. Despite his small physique, McEachran makes up what he lacks in endurance in his footballing brain. Able to see moves ahead and control the flow of the game, he is a cheaper alternative to other expensive targets that Chelsea wants. While this year is a forgettable one for McEachran, the club will do well to take note of the gem they have in their hands.
The Chelsea board and scouts have done a good job in brokering deals for these talented players. With this year being the last swansong for many of the Chelsea first team, a mass clear out similar to their second year under Ancelotti could be in progress. Hopefully the youngsters promoted can step up to fill the void.
This list is compiled based on players who have not made the first team or have had limited appearances. Other young players such as Mata, Ramires and Romeu have already made the step up, while notable mentions go to Chelsea reserves stars Patrick Bamford and Lucas Piazon.