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Arnesen is defiant over sorry record


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Chelsea's new sporting director Frank Arnesen yesterday launched his first defence of his woeful record at producing young players for the club's academy.

The Dane, who was promoted by Roman Abramovich last month, said that despite four years of extraordinary investment in young players, he was not under pressure to produce a player capable of making the first team until next year.

Despite the departure of three managers since Arnesen's arrival in 2005, the man who was brought from Tottenham at great expense has kept the trust of Abramovich. He presided over one of the most spectacular spending sprees in the history of youth football, signing unproven teenage players from Europe and South America including the £5m acquisition of Leeds United's English pair Michael Woods and Tom Taiwo – neither of whom came close to making the grade.

Nevertheless, Arnesen claimed in an interview with the Danish newspaper Berlingske Tidende that despite the huge sums spent on buying in young players – and the £5m a year that it costs to run Chelsea's lavish academy at Cobham – the club did not expect any returns on their investment until 2010.

Asked why he had failed to produce two players a year for the Chelsea senior squad, Arnesen claimed that was "a misunderstanding" and he had never been set that target. He said: "It was never a part of my contract with Chelsea. It is clearly laid out in our long time planning for 2004 to 2014 – after which we aim to be self financed – that from 2010 and onwards our top priority is to introduce one player [per year] into the Premiership squad. But that is from 2010.

"It was never the objective that I should be delivering two talents for the best team from 2007 on a yearly basis. I don't know how that misunderstanding has surfaced. You don't create talents at the assembly line. Patience is a virtue. In a top club like Chelsea you do not waltz into the team at the age of 18-19 years.

"It is the same at Manchester United and Liverpool. Only a select few make it into the first team at that age unless they are super gifted like Wayne Rooney, Cristiano Ronaldo or Bojan Krkic. We put a lot of effort into explaining this to our youngsters. We have four players coming out of our youth programme in the squad that made the pre-season trip to USA. We have some very good prospects aged 17-18 years. I am satisfied."

In the original squad named for the tour of America only Franco Di Santo, Scott Sinclair, Sam Hutchinson and Michael Mancienne could be described as coming through Chelsea's youth programme. The latter three all pre-date Arnesen at the club while Di Santo, an Argentine under-20 international who cost around £2m, has failed to break into the Chelsea team and has been a target for Blackburn Rovers.

Last year, Arnesen admitted that the global recession had forced Abramovich to cut back on the huge network of scouts that Chelsea employed all over the world. His promotion from head of youth development and chief scout to sporting director has placed a question over chief executive Peter Kenyon's role. Arnesen said: "My role won't be as much hands on in the youth department. The board wants me closer to the Premier League squad. I will be providing back-up for [Carlo] Ancelotti."

The Milan midfielder Andrea Pirlo is still expected to sign for Chelsea in exchange for Claudio Pizarro and a fee of around £6m, as reported in The Independent on Saturday

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Man this does explain some issues, but why don't we actually start using them early?

And i also like the ending bit, something just not on topic at all. Pirlo looks set to be in a Chelsea shirt this season. I hope Di Santo hasn't actually gone on loan, especially after praise from Carlo himself.

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Producing the young talent takes time. It is not an easy process.

In Frank Arnesens first seaon we had Mancienne, Cork, Bertrand, Hutchinson and Sinclair playing in the youth team. All of them are knocking on the door of the first team now, not to mention Stoch. That is fairly impressive in reality. At the end of the day it is ultimately down to the manager to play these young lads, and because of our manager rotation policy that has proved very very difficult to do.

Our academy is producing the players, that is for sure, there are a number of players with massive potential. It is easy to knock our youth policy but when Roman took over our academy was very very poor indeed. You will see in the future players of a higher level. Our new batch of U18's are a very talented group and this is what we will see more of, less being brought in (only 1 this summer) and more being produced.

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The question is though, what counts? Does Mancienne count? He is part of the first team as things stand, and was for the end of last season also...

Can we expect a young player to be a regular STARTER any earlier than say 23/24??

Plenty of ones to come through: Kakuta, Bruma, Mellis, Borini ect.....

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23 24 is too late you cant give a youngster his debut starting season that late, it just cant happen. 5 million a year is a hell lot of money lol on an academy barca probs dont spend half that.

You think that a youngster breaking through should be a regular starter, "starting" 25+ games a season before they are 23??

Mancienne is 21, so he needs to dislodge Carvalho, Ivanovic and Alex in 2 years? Once a player is in the squad it is going to take time for them to dislodge the players ahead of them, especially considering those players are World Class players. And also, does it matter. Having the players in the squad is the key point.

Barca's academy has been long established at the level it is at. Like i said, we will see more and more players developed by the club comming through as time goes on.

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You think that a youngster breaking through should be a regular starter, "starting" 25+ games a season before they are 23??

Mancienne is 21, so he needs to dislodge Carvalho, Ivanovic and Alex in 2 years? Once a player is in the squad it is going to take time for them to dislodge the players ahead of them, especially considering those players are World Class players. And also, does it matter. Having the players in the squad is the key point.

Barca's academy has been long established at the level it is at. Like i said, we will see more and more players developed by the club comming through as time goes on.

Obi mikel did it at 19 for us !

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Obi mikel did it at 19 for us !

Yes but not all cases can be the same...

Are you saying that Mancienne isn't ever going to be a first team regular now? Of course not. Some players will be exceptional talents and break in at a earlier age, but we have to be realistic and know that 9 times out of 10 it is going to be a longer process to get these players playing on a regular basis for our first team.

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When obi first came he was not the bees knees. He was average with room to improve we kept playing him and he developed his defensive side to his game. If you watch him now his reading of the game has improved 10 fold thats because we kept playing him.

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When obi first came he was not the bees knees. He was average with room to improve we kept playing him and he developed his defensive side to his game. If you watch him now his reading of the game has improved 10 fold thats because we kept playing him.

Yes, but i would still class Mikel as an exceptional talent and you won't get many like him comming through. I agree that you have to give these lads games. For example i would have given Bertrand the back up to Ash job this season, but Ancelotti just comming in decided to not take the risk. I would have played Stoch and Di Santo much more last season - again Hiddink and Scolari needed to get the results so decided to not take the risk.

At the same time we have to be realistic. At 21 Mancienne isn't a lost cause, i believe he will become a first team regular in a couple of years. And i believe we WILL start bringing some very talented players through.

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We have lost three youngsters already, an only one will go into first team, and that's still a year away. If there is more youngsters who leave this year, then we won't have youth players to bring up. It should be up to the manager to choose the most skillful and talented players in the youth squad which he thinks is going to fight for a first team chance in the squad.

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Continuity in management is a key point in being able to bring through the youngsters.

Yeah that is, hopefully Carlo will have more then once chance like Grant or Scolari, i hope that he is the 'one' to be here for a long length of time. Roman needs to give more time for managers to get with the style of play of the EPL. And hopefully Carlo can look at our youth and see good players like footballers like Lampard and Terry can, hell if Carlo goes give the job to Lampard and someone else, something like co-managers, Lampard playing-manager the other tactical.

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When obi first came he was not the bees knees. He was average with room to improve we kept playing him and he developed his defensive side to his game. If you watch him now his reading of the game has improved 10 fold thats because we kept playing him.

He won the Silver ball at the age of 18 in the Under 20 World Youth Cup while Messi won the Golden Ball. Mikel was an exception.....

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I think that although he hasn't seemed to have done much for his wages, but as Esk says these things do take time. Esk used the word CONTINUITY and that's a word that we don't associate with Chelsea, but hopefully we can keep all the management happy now that Roman has his wish in appointing Ancelloti. I'd love to see more JT's coming through Manciene being a prime example, so maybe we should be patient and let natural wastage take its course to weed out the iffy ones and end up with the best youth academy in the league.

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