The Golden chances Chelsea are earning from their problems

It may not feel like it at Chelsea right now but their growing list of problems are actually presenting them with a golden opportunity.

There are many reasons why things have never looked bleaker: the team are  losing on a regular basis; Fifa are expected to hand the club a transfer ban; there is a serious danger of not playing in the Champions League for a third time in four years; there are serious doubts for the first time over Roman Abramovich’s commitment to the cause.

Unrest has spilled over to the stands. Arguably, no Chelsea manager has endured such public vilification of their methods as Maurizio Sarri experienced during the defeat by Manchester United on Monday night.

Comparisons have been made with Rafael Benitez, who was interim head coach during the 2012-13 season. However, the Spaniard was mainly admonished because of his Liverpool connections rather than a lack of tactical acumen.

Even if Sarri emerges unscathed from the next seven days, during which his side face Malmo, Manchester City and Tottenham, it would be a surprise if he is still in charge next season. That would mean having a 12th different man — Jose Mourinho and Guus Hiddink had two spells in charge — to coach the team in the space of 17 seasons.

Several squad members, including Eden Hazard, might leave, while the budget to replace them all will be put under strain because of the pressures of complying with financial fair play.

But this is where Chelsea can finally utilise the undoubted talent that has graduated from their academy to help them during the necessary rebuilding process.

Clearly it would take Sarri to go for this to happen. The 60-year-old Italian has shown little faith in the youngsters at his disposal — indeed, sources at the club cannot remember seeing him watch the various youth sides in action at the training ground.

Only the other day, Chelsea’s victory over Monaco in the UEFA Youth League was viewed at close quarters by Hazard, plus former players Petr Cech and John Terry, but Sarri was nowhere to be seen.

If Chelsea do decide to make a change in the dugout, it would have to coincide with a switch in philosophy, too.

The next man would have to be given the mandate that his predecessors lacked by being able to use youngsters with the promise of time on his side to make it work.

There is already a strong core in the squad and, Sarri permitting, they may all feature against Malmo in the Europa League tonight.

Andreas Christensen, Callum Hudson-Odoi, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Ethan Ampadu would easily command in excess of £140m in the transfer market. Yet that worth is not reflected in the amount of appearances the quartet have made this term — just 33. 

Chelsea also have other prodigies, all out on loan, who would refresh an ageing and underperforming squad.

Take Derby duo Mason Mount and Fikayo Tomori, for example. The former has already earned a call-up to the senior England squad due to his performances as a creative midfielder in the Championship. Tomori, who was part of the England Under-20 side that won the World Cup in 2017, is a centre-half of growing stature.

There are more Blues thriving in the second tier. Tammy Abraham has scored 20 goals at Aston Villa, Wigan coach Paul Cook admits he has run out of superlatives for Reece James, while Jay Dasilva and Trevoh Chalobah are highly thought of at Bristol City and Ipswich respectively.

Obviously, Chelsea are not going to use or pick them all in the top flight straight away. Plus, they would have to be integrated with the seasoned internationals and the signings that arrive.

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