Bye Bye Begovic?

Give youth a chance

By Tim Harrison

Chelsea travel to Birmingham at the weekend for Saturday’s early kick-off against doomed Aston Villa.

What is there to play for? Possibly a Europa League place, although whether that would be a blessing is arguable.

Most fans sneer at the second tier of European football, having been spoilt for so long with Champions League action. Yet the 2013 Europa League victory was immense fun.

Taking part does push weekend games back to Sunday. In the last two months, Spurs have only played twice on Saturdays.

Meanwhile the Stamford Bridge rumour mill suggests that the man who wears No1 is to leave to seek more regular football.

Asmir Begovic covered for the early part of the season when Thibaut Courtois was out injured, but is now off the radar.

An insider admits Chelsea would have been better signing the then Stoke No2 keeper Jack Butland, rather than Begovic, although Butland unfortunately fractured an ankle in England’s friendly win over Germany.

Chelsea need a long-term strategy in many departments, with the club guilty of hasty, snap signings in the recent past, rather than developing squad members.

There are a sprinkling of exceptions, including Reuben Loftus-Cheek, but generally the Blues have bought the finished article rather than construct anew.

This is partly down to the high manager turnover, but it can also be explained by an obsession with continuous glory, as opposed to creating a young squad with a 10-year shelf life.

Though it grates to say it, Tottenham appear set for a long, successful era – provided they don’t get another attack of Bale fever and flog their key assets.

Chelsea have an aura of faded and fading superstardom.

Despite having a youth team poised for a third straight FA Youth trophy in as many years, you already know that the teenagers at Chelsea will simply not be allowed to advance if proven, off-the-shelf alternatives can be bought. It’s a real shame.

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and unless specifically stated are not necessarily those of the London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham

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