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How Chelsea Recruitment Strategy Favours Maturity Over Youth

Chelsea manager Graham Potter leads their recruitment strategy

Analysis by the CIES Football Observatory over the last ten seasons shows that the London club selected players with an average age of 26.71 with 20 per cent of their transfer choices being over the age of 30.

Chelsea Prefer Maturity Rather Than Youth When Recruiting Top Players.

That is the highest age profile of any of the leading Premier League clubs and, indeed, of all the top clubs in the major five European leagues. Contrast that with UEFA Champions League title holders Real Madrid who opted to buy players with an average age of just 22.87 over the same decade.

Chelsea Target the Older Age Profile

The work done by the CIES, which does not include academy players, brings into focus what some would suspect anyway in that the trend at Stamford Bridge has been to recruit experience rather than develop younger talent.

Over the last ten years, the figures show that over half of their new investments were in the older age ranges which is a trend followed by many of the EPL clubs since July 2013.

READ: Extending Star’s Contract a ‘Priority’ for Chelsea

Joining Chelsea in this category are West Ham (average age 26.41), Manchester United (26.17), and Everton (25.99), clubs that many would point out have not been the most prolific winners of recent titles.

Whereas Liverpool lead the Premier League version of this ‘table’ with the youngest age profile at recruitment and the Merseysiders particularly stand out as having picked players at 21 or younger nearly 22 per cent of the time.

Maybe Chelsea Should Follow the Strategy of Real Madrid

The Spanish giants feature as the top team who has adopted a focus on bringing in young players as their recruitment age profile of under 23 years is significantly lower than any of the leading clubs in the five major European Leagues. 

Maybe as a definite policy, the management at the Bernabeu have not spent any money on a player, in this analysis, over the age of 30. The majority of their new blood is, in fact, below the age of 25.

Five Champions League crowns, including the historic ‘La Decima’, for Los Blancos in the last ten years point to this being part of a successful strategy. That’s not to say they haven’t spent significant sums under Florentino Perez.

But with examples like Vinicius Junior, 46m Euros when hired at 18, and Rodrygo, 45m Euros at 19, now terrorising opposition defences it’s clear they can pick young winners.

READ: Graham Potter Gives Contract Update on Chelsea’s 23-Goal Midfield ‘Firefighter’

Clearly, a successful recruitment policy is only one aspect of winning trophies but the obvious difference between a club like Chelsea and Real Madrid might give those in control at Stamford Bridge significant food for thought.


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