This has long been a subject of debate with Chelsea fans, should Chelsea be giving more minutes to their youth?
Amin Affane is in the last season of his contract with Chelsea FC, and from some of his comments this week, you get the sense that he won't be back with the club. This interview was done in Dutch, so the translation here may leave quite a bit to be desired, but here are a few of the more interesting comments.
"Ancelotti saw it in me to sit. He called me in the morning usually to say that I could come and train with the first team. That he the players from their own youth a chance he would give example to prove the debut of Josh McEachran, a good friend of mine. Nowadays, Josh on loan in the Championship with Middlesbrough."
"Villas-Boas took midfielders like Raul Meireles and Oriol Romeu. Therefore, there was no place for Josh. I trained myself under Villas-Boas is more often, but he had far less attention to the youth than Ancelotti. Josh was leased to Swansea City. Even there he got no playing time."
"I gave quick to recognize that I wanted to be rented. They were terrified, because they me at Chelsea continued to maintain that she saw me in the future. They wanted me to break through this season. However, I did not want to wait and my matches provisionally reserve team play. Roda has commanded me happy outcome. I also had to AZ and Feyenoord have, but it was the chance of playing, I think less. At my age I need every week to play in the first team."
'"I do not think the next few years playing for Chelsea. I regret nothing, because Chelsea is a club that is very professionally done. But I must now focus on Roda JC, worried that I'm important for the team and strikingly with my way of playing. Our coach Ruud Brood has fortunately much confidence in me. It took some getting used to, but I'm starting to find my niche. Play in the Dutch league is a good choice. "
It's fairly easy to feel for Affane in this situation, as he clearly feels his good performances at the youth level warrant some consideration for the first team. At the same time, I just don't see Affane as being anywhere near ready for first team football at Chelsea, or anywhere in the Premier League for that matter.
Affane more than held his own against competition his own age, but he had only made a pair of appearances at the reserve level before his loan to Roda JC. His set piece delivery and crossing are superb, but most other aspects of his game at this point are severely lacking. It's probably difficult for a player of his age to admit, but he was just not anywhere near developed enough to play for a top Premier League club right now, and he'd likely need several years of development at a lower level before being considered ready for a cameo at Chelsea.
The sad reality here is that not many prospects are going to show enough at an early age to get minutes at Chelsea prior to reaching their early twenties. Some youngsters will be willing to work for years for the opportunity to break through at the club, most will want regular minutes or the chance to move along with their careers. Neither one is right or wrong, but those wanting minutes given to them at a young age will likely end up parting ways with the club more often than not. That's just a byproduct of being at a club the size of Chelsea, and it clearly won't be for everyone.
Unfortunately it does appear at this point that we'll be seeing the end of our relationship with Affane at the end of this season, as his last comments seem to make it clear he's probably planning to leave. He'll be free to talk with foreign teams on January 1st about a move, and it's quite possible the move will be announced in January. We'll keep our eyes open for more news in that regard.