Despite their reputation for splashing the cash on high profile names, Chelsea have also seemingly become something of a talent factory for churning out exciting young prospects, having brought through the likes of Reece James, Mason Mount and Trevoh Chalobah from the youth set-up in recent years, while a plethora of other names have also risen through the ranks to enjoy success elsewhere – namely Roma talisman Tammy Abraham and AC Milan’s defensive rock Fikayo Tomori.
Not just for its benefit of saving valuable millions – something that appears particularly important to the Blues at present owing to their current financial predicament – bringing through the next crop of young talent is also vital to help refresh the squad and to continue engagement with supporters, with seeing a teenage star emerge always one of the joys of watching an elite club.
As ever, there is always one name that stands out from the rest in the youth ranks, with the name on everybody’s lips at present that of 18-year-old Harvey Vale – the youngster having shown glimpses of what he can do in his embryonic first-team career.
The next Mason Mount?
Player comparisons can at times be a tedious way to analyse an emerging individual, although in this case the similarities are seemingly obvious, with the teenage Vale thriving in the youth set-up in an attacking midfield or forward role – much like his slightly more senior teammate.
While Mount was forced to test himself out on-loan at both Vitesse Arnhem and under Frank Lampard at Derby County, however, Vale has been thrust straight into the limelight at Stamford Bridge, having made his first-team debut from the start in the Carabao Cup quarter-final win over Brentford back in December, while he has since featured in the semi-final first-leg clash with Spurs, as well as in three of the club’s four FA Cup ties to-date.
A top-flight outing is still yet to come to fruition, although according to sports performance coach Tom Joyce – who worked with the player last summer – the young “baller” will soon be “making regular Premier League appearances”, having made an “exceptional” transition from the U23 side.
Whether those regular appearances come in a Chelsea shirt remain to be seen, however, amid fears that the precocious talent could move on for nothing in the near future, with his contract set to expire in the summer of 2023.
Under Marina Granovskaia’s watch, the club have seen young English full-back Tino Livramento move on to Southampton and thrive – albeit with a buyback clause included in the deal – while fellow academy graduate Lewis Bate has also traded west London for west Yorkshire, having joined Leeds United last summer.
Tuchel and co will be hoping to avoid a similar scenario occurring for Vale, with the Haywards Heath-born attacker – who joined the club from Fulham at the age 0f 13 – seemingly chomping at the bit for more regular involvement, having shown what he can do in flashes in his five senior outings thus far.
Fortunately for the Chelsea faithful, there are talks of a new deal being agreed for the ‘versatile‘ midfielder, with hope yet that he can go on to forge a path for himself in the first-team as that man Mount has so successfully done.
And as such, he could save the Blues hierarchy millions in years to come, just as the England international has done, too.