Chelsea & TIemoue Bakayoko

Conte defends signing Bakayoko & selling Nathaniel Chalobah to Watford

Chelsea’s youth policy

During his in-depth interview with the Times, Chelsea manager Antonio Conte was drawn into a discussion of the club’s youth policy.

Chelsea are often attacked for buying up the best young players in world football, but never blooding them into their first team.

Instead, these kids are often loaned out to clubs all over the planet, while they spend limited time at Stamford Bridge.

Summer outgoings

This summer has seen the usual slew of youngsters leaving Chelsea.

In just the last few days, midfielder Izzy Brown, who spent last year on loan with Huddersfield, agreed to join Brighton on a season-long loan deal.

Before that, Dom Solanke moved from Stamford Bridge to Liverpool after he starred in England under-20’s World Cup win in South Korea, while Bournemouth signed Nathan Ake from the Blues for 20 million pounds last Friday.

Elsewhere, Bertrand Traore has also left Chelsea for Lyon in a 16.6 million pound move, while, Ruben Loftus-Cheek (Crystal Palace), Tammy Abraham (Swansea) and Kurt Zouma (Stoke) have agreed one year loan deals.

Grafting 🌬

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Tiemoue Bakayoko v Nathaniel Chalobah

Another youngster who has left Chelsea is Nathaniel Chalobah. He completed a permanent transfer to Watford while Chelsea have shelled out 40 million pounds bringing in Tiemoue Bakayoko from Monaco.

When quizzed about those deals, Antonio Conte has defended Chelsea’s activities in the transfer market. The Times reported the following:

Surely Conte can see that a player such as Nathaniel Chalobah, one of England’s brightest young prospects who reached the semi-finals of the European Under-21 Championship finals this summer, might see the £40 million signing of Tiemoué Bakayoko, the 22-year-old midfielder from Monaco, as a signal that he has to move on?

“I think, honestly, at this moment there is a great difference between the two players,” Conte says. “You are talking about one player who has played with Monaco, who has maybe 100 appearances for that club. He has played in the Champions League and has played regularly.

“Try to understand the difference before you judge. People who do [judge], do not understand the difference.”