It is often said football players reach their prime around the ages of 25-32, this is supposedly when the player will have their peak stamina and pace, alongside a good amount of tactical knowledge and experience to be the best they can be.
Chelsea are currently sitting in 3rd place in the Premier League table and but have a little cloud of uncertainty hanging over them with their “interim” manager having regular outbursts in the press, and the fans displaying their discontent at every game. The owners are under pressure to appoint a new manager at the end of the season who will bring success, but amongst the uncertainty in recent years Chelsea having been purchasing some of the most promising young talent from around the world. Some of the players are shining already and they haven’t even reached their supposed “peak”.
Many of these starlets are currently out on loan to other clubs and some are grabbing the headlines already. Romelu Lukaku is only 19 but is a name that is familiar with many West Brom fans, as his outstanding performances whilst on loan this season has helped West Brom push their way into the top half of the league. Lukaku has strength and pace with a keen eye for goal, and has currently scored 13 goals in 26 appearances in the Premier League. Thibaut Courtois aged 20 is currently on loan learning his trade at Athletico Madrid, he has appeared 62 times for the club including a Uefa Super Cup Final appearance against his parent club Chelsea. He is highly regarded as the replacement for Petr Cech and has all the attributes to become a world class keeper and fulfil his great potential. These are just two of the promising stars for the first team that are out on loan.
Then there are the stars which are currently in the first team squad such as Eden Hazard and Oscar. Hazard signed for Chelsea for a fee rumoured to be around £32 million, perhaps a high price for someone who is only 22. Hazard has had mixed performances so far this season, starting out well but with a few dips in form, but it has to be considered that it is only his first season in the Premier League and will take time to adjust. Oscar was another new signing this season for a fee in the £20-£25 million mark, another high price for a player who is only 21. Oscar is highly skilful and his playing style has lead to comparisons to Brazil Star Kaka.
Now fast forward 5 years and Chelsea young starlets would be in or about to reach their prime, Chelsea could be a team which many will fear. They currently have roughly 17 players all under 23 who are regarded as having high potential with many more coming through the ranks. What Chelsea achieves between now and when these players reach their prime age is going to involve some difficult decisions. If the young players don’t receive enough game time then they won’t gain the experience and tactical knowledge to succeed, but on the other hand how long can Chelsea risk them having a bad game and then claiming it as a learning experience. They don’t want to become the next Arsenal after all.