It’s been a whirlwind 10 years with Russian oligarch Roman Abromavich at the helm of Chelsea. Having burned through 9 different coaches, over 70 new players and (reportedly) £2.2 billion to earn 13 trophies, Chelsea hasn’t been shy about splashing the cash for European superstars.
But with the return of a humbled Jose Mourinho, Chelsea appear to be the verge of something they haven’t done since sugar daddy Roman took over: building for the future.
Upon his return to Stamford Bridge in June, Mourinho said he was ready to settle down at a club, ready to lead the club he loves into the future. He likes it, so he’s putting a ring on it. He also wants to integrate the club’s promising youth players, who have grabbed 3 of the last 4 F.A. youth cups and advanced to the NextGen final (basically a youth Champion’s League).
That’s all well and good to say — Andre Villas Boas said much the same thing when he took over in 2011. But the signings CFC and Jose have made of late seem to support this long-term plan. Indeed, the club has signed 16 players under the age of 25 (including a few youth players of note) since the summer of 2011. These players will form the backbone of the club going forward, from Hazard and Thibaut Courtois to Islam Feruz and Romelu Lukaku.
So, here’s my ideal starting 11 for this coming season (with one sub), the 11 that will probably get significant minutes (with one sub) and my 21 and under lineup (with one sub).
Seth’s 2013-2014 Chelsea Lineup
Cole – Luiz – Ivanovic – Azpilicueta
Ramires – Lampard
Hazard – Mata – Oscar
SUB: Kevin De Bruyne
Seth’s Almost-Good-Enough Chelsea 11
(* denotes players on loan this season)
Bertrand – Terry – Cahill – van Aanholt (*)
Mikel – McEachran
Moses – van Ginkel – Schurrle
Seth’s Under 21 Lineup
Kalas – Ake – Omeruo – Wallace
Schurrle – van Ginkel – Piazon
SUB: Ruben Loftus-Cheek
Mmhmm, mmhmm. I’m a genius.