Tuesday 28


Are Chelsea following Ajax’s mould?

28th August 2019, 19:03 by James Mason

With Frank Lampard delving into Chelsea's youth ranks this season, are the Blues attempting to copy Ajax's philosophy?

With Frank Lampard delving into Chelsea's youth ranks this season, are the Blues attempting to copy Ajax's philosophy?

Ajax pride themselves on developing players through their impressive youth system and the number of players that have come through the famous Sportpark De Toekomst Academy is astonishing.

In the 1960s, a certain Johan Cruyff burst into the senior side and went on to become an absolute footballing icon. He inspired the club to three European Cups and won the Ballon d’Or three times before picking up numerous other pieces of silverware with Barcelona and Feyenoord.

Over the next half a century, Marco van Basten, Dennis Bergkamp, Frank de Boer, Frank Rijkaard, Ronald de Boer, Edgar Davids, Patrick Kluivert, Edwin van der Sar, Clarence Seedorf and many other players have all come through the ranks at Ajax.

De Godenzonen have often sold their star players on for big profits and they recently sanctioned exits for midfielder Frenkie de Jong and defender Matthijs de Ligt, who left for Barcelona and Juventus respectively for a combined 150million euros.

Ajax’s philosophy and transfer system has worked superbly and it appears Premier League outfit Chelsea may be trying to change their approach to match that of the Eredivisie champions.

The Blues brought back former midfielder Lampard as manager this summer, replacing Maurizio Sarri, and the ex-England international has been unable to spend any money due to the transfer ban imposed on the club.

With the Stamford Bridge-based side unable to bring in new arrivals until the summer of 2020, the new manager has decided to put his trust in youth this season by giving the likes of Mason Mount and Tammy Abraham opportunities, while Callum Hudson-Odoi is also due to return from injury.

So, is this a sign of things to come from Chelsea, with youth being preferred ahead of big-money acquisitions?

Since owner Roman Abramovich bought the club in June 2003, huge transfer fees have been spent to reinforce the squad while the players in the youth teams have regularly been sent out on loan after being overlooked for senior duties.

Turning to the younger players could be a step in the right direction for Chelsea and Mario Melchiot, who was at Stamford Bridge from 1999-2004, believes his former employers are transforming into Ajax.

He told Goal: “I saw Frank Lampard was watching the Under 23s. He knows he might need those players. This is their chance. We do it at Ajax so that’s our model. Chelsea are more like Ajax this season. They can’t make big signings but the smart thing to do is promote the young boys.”

It may have been forced upon Lampard to give the younger generation a chance this season due to the transfer ban but it could end up being a blessing in disguise for the Premier League outfit

This article originated on sportinastorm.com

James Mason grew up in Northumberland so is entrenched in both the football and golf scenes. A low handicap golfer, he also follows Newcastle United and predicts big things under Rafa Benitez.

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