Chelsea’s academy which has this season showcased the promotions of Tammy Abraham, Mason Mount, Fikayo Tomori, Reece James and Callum Hudson-Odoi, was very nearly closed down it’s been revealed.
 
In an exclusive interview with the Telegraph former Chelsea technical director, Michael Emenalo revealed that he was put under pressure by a former manager of the club to close down the academy, as it was deemed a waste of money.
 
Speaking with the newspaper, Emenalo revealed that he was thankful that Roman Abramovich backed his advice not to ‘abandon’ the youth system at the Blues;
 
I defended the academy when there was pressure and doubt and pessimism. A manager came in to make a presentation to say the academy was not necessary. The argument was it takes too long, and that the owner should stop pumping money into it because it seemed like a waste.”
 
I had to fight against it. This is where I am very, very proud of the owner, because of the trust he had me and the willingness to listen to me and give the academy time. He would not abandon it. He believed in it and in me.”
 
The interview falls short of naming the manager who made the case for Chelsea academy to be closed, and it’s difficult to speculate as to who it may have been as Michael Emanalo worked with seven different managers during his spell as technical director, until his departure in 2017.
 
The list of managers that worked alongside Emanalo is Andre Villas-Boas, Avram Grant, Roberto Di Matteo, Guus Hiddink, Rafael Benitez, Antonio Conte and Jose Mourinho.

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