Chelsea decided to go against one of their long-standing club policies by permitting Frank Lampard to play Mason Mount and Fikayo Tomori: two of the most highly rated youth players who are currently on loan at Derby County. The decision was made with one week to go before the two sides face each other in the 4th round of the Carabao Cup.
For the first time, Chelsea will allow the opposition to field loanees against their parent club in a domestic competition, but is it a decision that the board might regret? Frank Lampard, who is Chelsea’s all-time top scorer has transformed Derby County into an impressive attacking yet organized side in the first six months of his managerial career. Both academy players, Mount and Tomori, have played a massive part in that transformation, one that’s seen the Rams knock out Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United at Old Trafford in the last round.
Lampard was pleased with the decision and thanked Chelsea via Derby’s official website:
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank Chelsea, their director Marina Granovskaia and manager Maurizio Sarri for allowing Mason and Fikayo to be available for selection for the Carabao Cup tie. We’ve been in dialogue with Chelsea since the draw was made and it’s great, first and foremost, that the players will have the opportunity to test themselves against a top side.”
In Theory, it sounds great that the supporters along with the board and Mauro Sarri will be getting a chance to watch two of the most coveted academy players go up against the 1st team, topped off by the Blues winning the game thus moving onto the next round, right? What if Chelsea gets knocked out, and Mount is directly responsible by either scoring or assisting the winner? Mount already has 5 goals in 16 games this season. What if Tomori puts in a brilliant shift in defence similar to the one at Old Trafford and prevents a few of our goals from going in thanks to his vital goalline clearances? Last time the Blues allowed a loanee to play for the opposition was when former no.1 goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois came to Stamford Bridge and helped Atletico Madrid stop Chelsea from reaching the UEFA Champions League final in 2014.
At this point, these scenarios are all cases of what ‘ifs’, but did the club go against this policy because it’s a club legend, Lampard coming to Stamford Bridge for the 1st time as manager alongside Chelsea’s former youth coach Jody Morris as his no.2? Or is the club putting the loan policy on hold to see how good Mount and Tomori are, therefore giving them a better chance of breaking into the 1st team?
If this is what it takes for the Chelsea board to change their minds on how they handle youth players, and gets them to realize that the club doesn’t have to spend millions to bring in players when the academy has arguably some of, if not the best youth players in the continent, who can easily transition into the 1st team, so be it. End of the day, I still believe that Sarri will field a team more than capable of defeating Derby County and advancing to the next round.