A squad for the future
Chelsea have the youth system and current squad to be one of the most dominant squads in the Europe and our performance in the NextGen series has showed that (beat Barcelona 2-0 and Juventus 4-1). We’re setting ourselves up for the future, however there are options that might be left out. Nonetheless, I’ll give a full XI that would, for me, be the best for Chelsea in the upcoming 5-10 years with players that are currently available to us (whether on loan, in squad or youth system).
Formation : 4-2-3-1 (since we play it now)
Cesar Azpilicueta – Kenneth Omeruo – Tomas Kalas – Ryan Bertrand
Romeu – Ake
Oscar – Mata – Hazard
Goalkeeper + Defense :
Courtois is the most obvious choice for goalkeeper. He has proven himself at Genk and Atletico Madrid. In his career, he has accumulated 102 appearances. He has been incredible for Atletico this season, keeping 21 clean sheets, and is one of the reasons they are competing with Real Madrid for 2nd place. At just 20 years of age, Courtois has already earned a wealth of experience in Belgium and Spain and could be a Blues legend for a full decade should he continue his progress at such a young age. His handling and reflexes are as good as any keeper and he is particularly good at one-on-ones. The youngster might have to work on his communication, but that will come with experience.
Azpilicueta has impressed in his first season. The Spaniard has been solid defensively, while also giving Chelsea an extra dynamism going forward. Much like Ashley Cole on the opposite flank, he has linked up well with the likes of Juan Mata and Victor Moses in front of him—perhaps even more so in some instances than his predecessor.
Kenneth Omeruo has been very solid for ADO Den Haag. At just 18-years-old he cemented a place in the ADO Den Haag side last season during a late loan spell that has been continued into this season. He is known in Holland for his strong physical presence that is visible in his already firmly established 6ft 2in frame and stocky chest. Also lightning fast he can operate at both right full back and at the heart of defence. Not to mention he has also proved himself a dangerous goal threat with his aerial ability.
Tomas Kalas started at centerback in his first season long loan with Vitesse, becoming a regular starter almost as soon as he arrived. He moved to RB and Kalas has been even better this season than he was in 2012, as he really has a chance to show off his tackling ability in this role without having to worry about conceding penalties. He’s also able to push forward and join the attack when he likes, and he’s more than capable of getting back to cover his defensive responsibilities. I’d prefer him at centre back and he is very impressive at both positions.
Bertrand hasn’t had the best of seasons, but after signing a 5 year contract earlier this year, he was rewarded for his rapid progress since the turn of the year, a period in which he broke into the first team and played a key role in the Champions League final win against Bayern Munich.
Defensive Midfield :
Oriol Romeu has been very impressive since coming from Barca B, with a buy-back option available, if that doesn’t happen… Romeu is the best option. Romeu is a great tackler and good passer; his playing style resembles Sergio Busquets. His roles are simple but he executes them well. This season has been blemished with injury for the young Spanish midfielder, but he managed to claim his first goal for Chelsea. Not only is he a great player on the ball, but the defensive midfielder can mark players out the game and has incredible concentration. He reads the play really well and is able to cut out opposition and moves with ease.
Nathan Ake was very solid against Middlesbrough alongside Ramires so he is very capable of playing there despite being more of a CB and one attribute that was notable from the word go was his composure on the ball. Ake produced a promising display of talents that you would not believe a boy of his age to have. Strength, passing, movement, stamina and composure of which you would not expect the young Dutchman to carry.
Attacking Midfield :
Hazard is a wonderful player and he has shown that with his recent form and his performances from the start of the season. Plus, with the amount of attention and energy he demands from the opposition with his tremendous footwork and dribbling abilities, Hazard definitely deserves his starting spot alongside maestro Juan Mata in the advanced midfield. Lampard had this to say on Hazard – “His ability and speed off the mark and the way he is able to turn on a sixpence is what all great attacking players have and he’s got it in abundance. (Gianfranco) Zola did it throughout his career while Eden’s at a relatively early part of his career but what he is showing now are glimpses that he can be in that bracket and be one of the top players in the world”
Oscar is a highly touted youngster from Brazil signs a big contract to play with Chelsea, gets to start alongside Mata and Hazard, is dubbed one of “The Three Amigos” and has some real success in the Champions League. Oscar has proved good when given the chance to show his worth. Mata might be more established and Hazard more expensive, but Oscar has produced some of Chelsea’s finest moments this season. Less flashy than Hazard, nevertheless Oscar is just as effective, as he ghosts into space with a serene calmness.
Juan Mata, who has at times throughout 2012-13 has carried this Chelsea team. A quick look at the Spaniard’s stats says that much, with him directly involved in 41 goals for his club (23 assists, 18 goals). Chelsea have scored 113 in all competitions with Mata on the pitch, meaning the No. 10 has chipped in—in one form or another—with over a third of their goals. It’s a phenomenal statistic—one that outlines his importance to what Chelsea are trying to achieve. Given the aforementioned troubles the club has endured, it’s all the more impressive. Mata has been our best and most consistent player this season, by far. He is definitely in the running for Player Of The Year and he was the first player to reach 10 goals and 10 assists in the PL this season.
Romelu Lukaku is perhaps the most interesting teenager in the game today. His physical tools are off the charts, and if he develops his touch and positioning, he’s got best center forward in the world potential. He has impressed while on loan at West Brom and the results are not the only things that have improved though, he’s been showing plenty of reasons to believe that he’ll eventually develop skills that will make him among the world’s best. The most notable improvement has come from Lukaku’s work in the air. He’s doing much better on long balls with his back to goal, and when he’s running he’s nearly unmarkable for opposing defenders. His accuracy with those headers still needs loads of work, but I’d much rather have a teenager that wins the battles and struggles to finish them than someone that finishes the rare ball he manages to get his head to. His dribbling has looked much better this season as well.
Honorable Mentions :
Victor Moses, Matej Delac, Alex Kiwomya, Islam Feruz, Kevin de Bruyne, Josh McEachran, Jeffrey Bruma, Nathanial Chalobah, Lucas Piazon, Marko Marin, Todd Kane, etc. (The list goes on and on).
Nonetheless, that is my squad for the future. What do you think? For the next 5-1o years, who should play in your mind? Let me know in the comment section below!