Harvey St. Clair joined Chelsea at age 8, and has played for the Blues through the U23 level and represented Scotland as a U21.
He may be leaving for Venezia in Italy’s Serie B, removing himself from the usual loan pipeline.
Harvey St. Clair is quite the iconoclast, it seems.
Chelsea’s academy graduates normally spend a few seasons bouncing around the loan army and gathering a smattering of minutes in the first team before frustration leads them to depart their childhood club for any club offering consistent playing time.
St. Clair, age 19, is skipping over all of the intermediary steps and is going straight to the step away.
The Scottish left winger is supposedly completing his medical ahead of a transfer to Venezia, in the second tier of Italian football. The Daily Mail reports St. Clair “could not see a way of progressing into the first team.”
This is a rather odd explanation. The Mail may just be phoning it in. “Hmm, I want to write a rumor about a young Chelsea player looking for a transfer.
What can I say his motivation?” “Uber Eats is here. Just say something about no path to the first team.” Equally plausible scenario whether you’re judging the newsroom or Cobham.
But as a left winger, St. Clair could have a shorter road to the first team than most of his academy teammates. Chelsea has less depth on the wings than in any other position. The lack of depth extends from the first team through the loan army.
The Blues have Eden Hazard and – depending on the formation and coach – Victor Moses. Pedro is losing is effectiveness, and Willian should lose his right to wear Blue. Wingers should be the club’s top transfer priority.
Callum Hudson-Odoi’s promotion last season and his prospects for next season should add to St. Clair’s hopes.
Not only is Hudson-Odoi showing that a player can make the leap from the academy to the first team, but he is demonstrating just how in need the Blues are.
A Europa League-bound team with a questionable financial situation and pathetic transfer history has more than enough room for several young wingers in the pipeline.
Chelsea will surely include a buy-back clause and a sell-on clause in whatever transfer they agree to. They have been burned enough times by prematurely selling young or not-so-young players.
By leaving before any loans, St. Clair will not fetch Chelsea as much on the transfer market as he otherwise might in a few years.
The Blues will certainly not want to risk the humiliation and financial loss of St. Clair becoming the next Kevin de Bruyne, Mohamed Salah, Romelu Lukaku, the list goes on.
Harvey St. Clair’s decision is certainly unusual, which is why it is attracting the attention and speculation.
Perhaps he just wanted to skip the long way around Nathan Ake and Nathaniel Chalobah took.
Hopefully, he finds what he is looking for in Venezia, or wherever his career takes him next. Perhaps, in that way football has, it will someday lead him back home.