Roman Abramovich rarely gives interviews.
Even though his name has dominated conversations surrounding Chelsea since his takeover, an overwhelming majority of supporters has never even heard their owner speak.
So when Forbes released an interview with the Russian billionaire in March 2021, it was vital to take note.
Abramovich spoke on a variety of topics, from his original decision to buy Chelsea in 2003, the men and women’s teams and the value of community surrounding the club. He also spoke on the topic of the importance of the club’s academy and the route from Cobham into the Blues first-team squad.
“Chelsea has a very rich history, and I feel extremely fortunate to play a part in that,” he said in the interview last year.
“The club was here before me and will be here after me, but my job is to ensure we are as successful as we can be today, as well as build for the future. That’s why the success of our academy at Cobham is so important to me.”
It is not only Abramovich’s words on the importance of Cobham shining through, but the investment to form one of world football’s outstanding academies has been incredible.
Since 2019 Chelsea has begun to enjoy the fruits of that long-term project with many talented youth products breaking through to become fully-fledged first-team players.
It has saved the club millions in transfer fees and massively aided the club during a challenging period where a FIFA imposed transfer ban prevented spending in the summer window of 2019.
What came through was proof that Chelsea’s academy talent was not only good enough but capable of internally upgrading positions in the squad, something both Frank Lampard and Thomas Tuchel have leaned on.
Four months after Abramovich’s interview, suddenly, there was a flurry of academy exits in the transfer market.
Fikayo Tomori, Marc Guehi, Tino Livramento, Dynel Simeu, Lewis Bate, Myles Peart-Harris, Ike Ugbo and Tammy Abraham all left on permanent deals.
The estimated total of that in fees coming up to £98m, which was around the money spent to bring Romelu Lukaku back to Stamford Bridge from Inter Milan in August.
The justification around that exodus surrounded the harsh reality of a COVID-impacted market which meant clubs less willing to spend viewed the likes of Tomori, Guehi, Livramento and Abraham all more valuable than other players the club was looking to sell.
Although it brought in money and Marina Granovskaia was praised for it, that summer has now created a trend and given motivation to Premier League clubs that a similar flurry of sales can take place in 2022.
Southampton, who signed Livramento for £5m, are interested in signing Chelsea midfielder Tino Anjorin who was on loan at Lokomotiv Moscow for the first half of the season.
This is also tied with the Saints, publicly making their intentions clear to try and sign Armando Broja permanently this year after his loan.
We can look at other loan players such as Conor Gallagher, Levi Colwill, Billy Gilmour and Ian Maatsen, all you would suspect could attract significant interest and raise substantial funds again.
There is also the reality now that Chelsea youngsters will be motivated seeing Guehi, Abraham, Tomori and Livramento leaving to thrive in two of Europe’s top leagues instantly.
That trend could prove alarming for Chelsea as they lose a flurry of talent that could replicate Mason Mount, Reece James, Callum-Hudson-Odoi, Andreas Christensen, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, and Trevoh Chalobah have given Tuchel this season.
If there is no clear pathway or coherent plan, Premier League clubs have been confidence that these deals can be done and that the players are good enough to upgrade their first team instantly.
Source by Football London