Earlier this afternoon we ran an article looking at five full back's Chelsea are targeting. Tomo Taka looks at an alternative and how they can save themselves some cash.
Following the departure of Jose Bosingwa, Chelsea have scoured the transfer market for support at right-back in addition to Ivanovic, who prefers a central role, and Paulo Ferreira. Reports emerged today that Chelsea are expected to complete the signing of Marseille’s 22-year-old Spanish left-back Cesar Azpilicueta having been similarly linked to Lille’s Mathieu Debuchy and Ajax’s Gregory van der Wiel but despite the speculation little has been covered on the emergence of young Sam Hutchinson.
Hutchinson has been with the Stamford Bridge club since the age of 7 and upon the arrival of Jose Mourinho, was identified by the Portuguese as only a select few of players that could potentially represent Chelsea at the highest level. Mourinho handed Hutchinson his debut for the Chelsea first-team in an end-of-season game against Everton in the 2006/07 season but after three more appearances over following seasons, the player was forced to retire due to a terminal knee injury at the age of 21 in 2010.
Determined to stay in football, the player remained at the club in a coaching work experience role and concurrently studied sports science at university. The player was offered a full-time coaching role with Paulo Di Canio at Swindon Town but opted to remain at Chelsea and continue his education as he established a career outside of playing football.
And yet, a miraculous recovery from the devastating injury led the player to return to playing action and Chelsea consequently offered the player a year-and-a-half contract and formulated a development programme to assist the player’s full recovery. In the last league game of last season, in his first year back, Hutchinson started at right-back and was also part of the squad that travelled to Munich for the Champions League final.
Now fully-fit, the 23-year-old can look forward to competing for first-team spots this season and fulfil the potential that Mourinho had earmarked several years ago. The player has been reliable in his appearances thus far in pre-season and as a more natural right-back than Ivanovic, could we see a breakout season for the Chelsea youngster?
Indeed, when Mourinho highlighted Hutchinson as a future player, it was in a context of criticising Chelsea’s youth development. Since then Abramovich has invested heavily in training and youth facilities but the investment has yet to see any concrete return. However, the success of Chelsea’s youth investment will never be realised, or measurable, if the club continue to purchase players rather than chance youth products such as Hutchinson and Bertrand and implement the players into the first-team.