The Chelsea manager looks set to help the team challenge for trophies, but his will-to-win restricts opportunities for promising young players.
It is widely acknowledged that Jose Mourinho’s track record of managerial success is very impressive and having the Portuguese coach in your corner will heavily boost your chances of silverware. It is why Roman Abramovich brought the Portuguese trainer back to Stamford Bridge, and the Blues will be there or thereabouts come the business end of the season in May.
One drawback about the ex-Porto, Inter and Real Madrid boss is seemingly that he has overlooked some very exciting young prospects at Chelsea in favour of tried-and-tested professionals. Despite the star-studded squad in west London, there are some mercurial young talents making their way slowly in the game, but their chances of first-team football while Mourinho is at the helm is limited to non-existent.
The most evident example is Romelu Lukaku. The Belgian showed his potential by netting 17 Premier League goals for West Brom last term, and has all the attributes to be a star in a top team. However, the former Anderlecht hitman has not been given a chance under Mourinho, with the arguably less-able Fernando Torres and Demba Ba trusted more due to their experience.
In goal Petr Cech had a strong campaign just past, but there is a point when Thibaut Courtois must be introduced to the Chelsea first-team fold. Another Belgian, the 21-year-old has been inspirational for Atletico Madrid while on loan over the last 24 months, and if Chelsea are not careful they could well lose one of the best young goalkeepers in the world due to not giving him a chance.
Despite the plethora of options that Mourinho has at his disposal, the centre of midfield is one area that is not overwhelmed with international, top-quality players. It is not inconceivable that Mourinho could blood a young star in the boiler room in Premier League games that Chelsea are dominating, but he won’t.
Nathaniel Chalobah and Josh McEachran have proven themselves on loan spells away from the club that they have the ability to play in the Premier League. Given time on the pitch and guidance from coaches and senior players, both have the potential to be future England internationals.
With Frank Lampard in the centre of the park also, why not partner the veteran with one of these young players in a home Premier League game against a team that Chelsea will dominate?
Unfortunately, while Mourinho is in charge, all four of these young players will be forced to look elsewhere to further their development.
Looking at Mourinho’s track record suggests the reason for not putting any faith in youth – he won’t be around long enough to see the finished product. The Portuguese trainer typically stays at a club for a couple of seasons, agitates opponents and the media and then abandons ship. He is a short-term fix; a successful one, yes, but he does not necessarily have his employers’ best interests at heart.
Although Mourinho may well bring success to Chelsea this season, the west London club may have to watch on in the future as Lukaku, Courtois, Chalobah or McEachran impress at a Premier League or European rival after leaving due to a lack of opportunities.
Do you feel the same way? Or are Jose's loans shrewd moves designed to preserve the future?
image: © joncandy