Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich dreams of winning trophies with six or seven academy graduates in the squad, according to the club’s former assistant manager Eddie Newton.
The Blues’ youth system is one of the best in the country, but it has come into the spotlight this summer with youngsters leaving Cobham to seek opportunities elsewhere.
Tammy Abraham was sold to Roma in a £34million deal after struggling for minutes under Thomas Tuchel, while Fikayo Tomori signed for AC Milan, Tino Livramento for Southampton and Lewis Bate for Leeds.
Meanwhile, Billy Gilmour (Norwich), Ethan Ampadu (Venezia), Tino Anjorin (Lokomotiv Moscow), Conor Gallagher (Crystal Palace) and Armando Broja (Southampton) were among those to leave the club on loan in search of opportunities.
Chelsea are famous for their use of the loan system, but Newton, who was assistant to Roberto Di Matteo for the club’s first Champions League win in 2012 and spent nearly a decade working with the club’s young players, has defended the club’s vision.
He points to first-team regulars Mason Mount and Reece James, and recent breakthrough Trevoh Chalobah, as evidence of Abramovich’s influence from the very top of the club.
“They will always have a real interest in bringing young players through and that comes directly from the owner, Roman Abramovich,” Newton toldThe Athletic.
“He envisages winning Champions Leagues and Premier Leagues with six [or] seven homegrown players and adding a few stars/experienced stars around it to win multiple trophies, year after year. That is the dream.
“But to get there is very difficult in the modern day. It’s more difficult when you are at the highest end of the football spectrum, more difficult to run academies and feed players into your first team.
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“The pressure is always on a manager to succeed, even if you’re well established. The reliance is always on a senior player in the eyes of a manager.
“He has put a lot of money and work into the academy and wants to see the fruits of his labour.
“Everyone thinks it’s a holiday working on the loan and youth programme. It’s anything but. There is pressure, there are many meetings to see what’s happening on a regular basis.
“Neil [Bath, head of youth development] is under pressure to develop the players to come through the system, he’s also got to find coaches all the time because coaches move on.”
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Newton left Chelsea last year to pursue his own managerial ambitions, but he is convinced the club are on the right path when it comes to youth development.
While loaning out Gilmour to Norwich before signing Saul Niguez on loan from Atletico Madrid might send a different message, Tuchel has continually affirmed his desire to bring youth youngsters.
“The door is always open,” he said last month.
“I love it, and I truly believe the supporters love it. The mix between big names from abroad, big personalities, and famous players with the academy guys is what makes a club special.”
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