Chelsea have reportedly won the race to sign 15-year-old Rangers wonderkid Billy Gilmour, who was also wanted by Manchester United and Manchester City.
Many feel Gilmour should have stayed at Rangers as it will be easy for him to break into the first team while citing the example of Islam Feruz but Chelsea great Pat Nevin believes Chelsea is the perfect place for the youngster to hone his skills.
“There is a lot of dislike for the Chelsea academy system”’ Nevin told Daily Mail. “They’ve won all the youth prizes in England for however many seasons in a row, they’ve won the UEFA Youth League, so people think they’re just buying success and then discarding these young players.
“If they were hoarding up players and these lads weren’t developing, they were just winning trophies for youth coaches? That would be a disgrace. An absolute disgrace.
“But there are so many coming through. There are dozens of these kids playing in the Premier League, the Championship and other major competitions.
“So it’s obviously a good place to develop as a footballer. As long as you don’t become fixated on the first team and judge your time there entirely on whether you get picked for a team full of world-class players.
“You’ve got Izzy Brown out at Huddersfield, doing really well. Tammy Abraham is having a spectacular time down at Bristol City. Andreas Christensen is playing for Borussia Moenchengladbach — and he has every chance.
“Nathan Ake has been brilliant at Bournemouth. But is he good enough to take a place from Gary Cahill, the England captain, or David Luiz, the Brazil captain? Ruben Loftus-Cheek has been impressing everybody — but he might end up elsewhere.
“The issue for all of these players is that you can be good enough to play in a top league, good enough for the Champions League even… but still not good enough for the Chelsea first team. But what an education you’ve been given.
“When I arrived from Clyde, I swanned into the first team within a couple of months. Those days are long gone! It’s now really, really tough, even for the very best. But the coaching standards are spectacular. And the game is full of excellent players who have come through that system.
“That’s because, at Chelsea, they go on loan at 16, 17 and 18 years of age — and that’s the right way to do it. They won’t keep you hanging around until you are 20 or 21. That’s pointless for them, pointless for the kids. They send them out quickly.
“If you’ve been kept on by a club until you’re 21, and you’re still not in the first team, they’re not far off from having trashed your career. That’s not acceptable. But Chelsea don’t do that.
“I know people cite Islam as an example up here. But they don’t talk about it like that at Chelsea.
“I saw Islam when he went down there and, as good as he was, when I saw what he was up against, he didn’t stick out as better than the rest. And there was always the concern about whether his head was in the right place. Attitude counts for a lot.
“The cons for Billy are that it’s going to be unbelievably hard to get into the first team, however good you are. You have to be a world-class player — and there are not that many of them around.
“But there are so many positives. It’s a tough system just to get into. The standard is incredible. And, if you want what’s best for Scottish football, you want individual young players to develop in the best environment.”