Refraining from buying proven talents and integrating young players into the first-team is something Chelsea haven’t been famous for in the last decade.
John Terry is the only academy product to staunchly make it to the first team while the others have been sent on loan to smaller sides before being sold.
This season seems to be different. Asmir Begovic is the only player we have spent money on, and even if we buy John Stones before the end of this transfer window, the amount spent shall be extremely modest by our standards.
We had been linked to the likes of Antoine Griezmann, Arda Turan and Pedro earlier on in the summer, but Mourinho instead chose to bring some talented youngsters into the squad in the attacking midfield position. Victor Moses has come in after loan spells away at Liverpool and Stoke City and has impressed in the pre-season. It will be interesting to see how he functions during the season, and how much of a look-in he gets in the Premier League and Champions League.
The big surprise, though, is the inclusion of Bertrand Traore in the squad. The 19-year-old impressed in his loan spell at Vitesse Arnhem last season, scoring 17 goals in 36 appearances. However, this season, Mourinho has firmly stated that the Burkina Faso International will not go out on loan.
The competition for places is fierce, with Eden Hazard, Oscar, Willian, Juan Cuadrado and Moses all competing for the starting spot. Traore seems to be brimming with confidence, judging by his interview to Chelsea’s official website:
‘I’m very happy to be here. I get to work with some of the best players in the world and one of the best managers.’
‘I am trying to do my best in every training session right now. It’s something nice to have the support of the manager, but I have to prove that I deserve to be here. I have to work hard, do my best and take my chance.’
‘I think my loan was very good. I learned a lot. I had a period of adaptation in the first six months then after I had a full season with the team including pre-season. It was much better.’
‘I learned a lot tactically, I also learned how to play without the ball, to defend, to play as a team, and I think I improved my mentality during my loan.’
Game-time is Imperative:
At 19, it is very important that Traore gets a good time on the pitch next season. Even though that is easier said than done, playing him the in the Cups and the odd Premier League games could be something Mourinho would consider. It will be a real pity if he spends all his time on the bench.
It would contribute a lot to his development to train with some of the best players in the world, but unless he plays, he will not be able to do justice to his talent. He has got great feet and trickery, but will need to add more body and fight to his game to play regularly.
With Oscar and Willian unable to prove their mettle last season in the terms of goal tally and number of assists, Traore had an amazing and prolific stint in Arnhem. Replicating this form in the Premier League is a different ball-game altogether, but the Burkinabe footballer should be given enough chances to prove his worth.
The competition for places is intense, but Traore has clearly shown the potential to be a future star at Chelsea. As a fan, he is a prospect that really excites me. Let’s hope he gets his opportunities next season and develops into the star, we expect him to be.
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Edited By: Harshal Ahire
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