Chelsea have strengthened all areas of their squad this summer. But it is not just Jose Mourinho’s first team that have made new signings.
The Chelsea academy have also seen new arrivals and Polish forward Hubert Adamczyk is one of the most interesting.
Adamczyk, 16, was signed from Zawisza Bydgoszcz for an undisclosed fee believed to be close to £1 million. He has played for various Poland youth sides and is regard as a future international in his homeland.
He is a pacey tricky forward who can play across the frontline or in midfield. Not especially strong or big, Adamczyk’s quality lies in his technique, vision and invention. He comes alive in the final third and has that rare ability to anticipate what is going to happen before anyone else on the pitch.
Chelsea won the FA Youth Cup and U21 Premier League title last season. They are one of the most successful academies in terms of trophy and competition success in England. Yet progression from their youth to senior ranks is minimal.
Chelsea have been waiting for an academy graduate to grace their first team for 16 seasons. John Terry was the last genuine youth team product to make the leap. A generation has come and gone with countless prospects groomed and discarded along the way.
The situation is approaching scandal. Chelsea have simultaneously one of the best and one of the worst youth programmes in England depending on which way you analyse it.
Adamczyk is the latest high profile youngster to be parachuted into the Chelsea youth setup – he will feel that he can brake their duck.
He arrives with a reputation as one of the best young forwards in Europe and one of the top young players in Poland in recent memory.
Chelsea had been monitoring his progress closely over the last 18 months. Adamczyk had been visiting the club’s Cobham training ground on a monthly basis and once he turned 16 the Blues moved quickly to complete a deal.
Adamczyk joins a Chelsea academy brimming with talent, desperate to convert trophy success to first team progression. That must always be the goal, an FA Youth Cup medal means nothing to a young player who has been released.
Chelsea pay their youth players well with rumours of seven figure salaries and eye-watering signing on fees surrounding some of their young players. Despite the lack of first team progression the Chelsea academy is well run and produces high quality young footballers. So far however they have not produced one deemed good enough for their own team.
Does the continued signing of foreign prospects combined with the recruitment of the best young English talent help the development of the club’s young players or stifle it?
Last season the Chelsea Under 18s were a physically imposing young side. This year, with the addition of Adamczyk and players such as Charly Musonda Jr, Kasey Palmer and Jay Da Silva set to play a more prominent role they may embrace a a more considered approach.
The wait for an academy graduate goes on at Chelsea. Will John Terry have retired before the next home grown talent makes the step up to the first team? Will Adamczyk make the grade?
Chelsea will hope the answer to both questions is yes.
- Polish scout Janusz Oledzki has been working for Chelsea since 2008. Adamczyk is the first Pole to sign for the club. Oledzki describes him as the best young talent he has ever seen.