Chelsea continue their pursuit of teenage talent with Cesare Casadei, Endrick.

Chelsea continue their pursuit of teenage talent with Cesare Casadei, Endrick.


We’ve seen a seemingly disjointed, haphazard and even desperate approach to Chelsea’s transfer window so far this summer, although that can easily be explained and forgiven by what happened in the club’s ownership transition two months ago. All the knock-on effects of restrictions imposed on the club by various powers and issues related to the team’s planning and decision-making processes.

Although it’s hard to pin down too much intent, vision, or overall design from what we’ve seen so far – aiming forward first, looking back and forth, changing targets at random, even (some) younger players reverting to old habits. We are concerned about not removing too much dead weight, giving the manager the ultimate authority, etc. – Perhaps a more generous way to describe our approach would be to call it broad and comprehensive. We may be lacking a narrow focus, but we’re definitely gunning to implement it.

We went into the summer with a reported £200m budget but without a sporting director to execute a Liverpool-esque, data-driven approach as a model to be followed by the new owners, rather than a pick-it-all and hit “do”. Question” button. If they are available and can hit the ball high, chances are they will get a call. It wasn’t necessarily pretty, but it was pretty fun at times.

And that approach isn’t just broad, it’s deep, targeting veterans, top-level players and youngsters. Perhaps the most interesting and new (at least to us) and the most distant from the data-driven idea mentioned above is this last aspect. By definition, £20m (£10+10m) for Carney Chuchukemeka, $15m ($10+5m) for Gabriel Slonina, or whatever compensation we give Arsenal for Omari Hutchinson is irrelevant. (Though Slonina’s pursuit at least began in January, and he has some, and rather impressive, pro-level experience.)

And we might not end up with just three of those 18-year-olds. They have Chelsea It is reported For 19-year-old Cesare Cassaday, he made two offers €20m – rated Inter Milan prospect, and 16-year-old (16!) Endrick Felipe is one of several clubs involved in Palmeiras’ pursuit of the next big thing from Brazil, who has a €60m release clause – and he didn’t want it. He can even play legally in Europe for two more years, until he turns 18. A moral gray area involving minors, this is a page more out of Real Madrid’s latest playbook (see: Vinicius Junior, €46m at 16; Rodrygo at 17, €45m) compared to Liverpool or Big Data.

Obviously, these slots have worked very well for Real – in the process overshadowing any similar slots that haven’t – so it’s probably a good thing to pay attention. It should be noted that this kind of broad approach is also how the LA Dodgers operate, spending big money not only on the best, but also on big prospects.

More importantly, it shows that the new owners are indeed building something not only for the present, but also for the future… even if we don’t know exactly what shape that will take.

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