We already knew that Frank Arnesen, the man largely responsible for Chelsea' youth setup, was planning to resign as Chelsea's sporting director at the end of the year, and now we have a destination: Hamburg (HSV), in the Bundesliga. Arnesen is to join the German club as their director of football on a three year deal starting in the summer, and he'll be joined by current Chelsea chief scout Lee Congerton, whose position with HSV will be as technical director. Here's what Arnesen had to say about the situation:
I am honoured by HSV's interest and the conviction shown to me by the people in charge of the club. HSV is a special club with a great tradition and fantastic conditions to work in. I am convinced that we will develop something huge with the energy we have got and with the right decisions.
...i.e. not a whole lot. Arnesen's done pretty good work with Chelsea, and his academy has produced talents like Daniel Sturridge and Josh McEachran but he's had six years to bring in an impact player and none of his youth teamers have really made their mark on the first squad yet, although he contributed to the acquisitions of John Obi Mikel and Salomon Kalou*.
*This will make some people think less of him, I imagine.
Losing Arnesen and Congerton means a big shakeup in Chelsea's back office staff, but they're not the only ones who'll be moving on. French scout Guy Hillion will be moving onto Nantes to be their sporting director in April, while Dutch scout Hans Gilhaus is out of contract at the end of the season and has been linked to Eredivisie side Feyenoord. The fact that so many Chelsea scouts are getting big jobs elsewhere is an encouraging sign - part of being a strong operation is having other clubs value your staff highly, after all, but it remains to be seen just what Chelsea do about what appears to be a major talent exodus from their scouting department.