International Man of Mystery Michael Emenalo - usually seen in his disguise as Chelsea's Technical Director - doesn't speak very often in public. When he does, we pay attention.
Following yesterday's part 1, in part 2 of his interview with Chelsea's official website, he delves into the club's semi-controversial (especially with the recent comments by Greg Dyke stirring the media) loan policy.
"When I came here six years ago we had great players but what we had below those great players were players too young and too far apart to be able to integrate them. Now we have great players and they are not so far apart. Now we have a player like Frank Lampard at 35 but then we have quality players in Ramires, John Mikel Obi, Michael Essien and Marco van Ginkel, and then we have from the Academy young players who can come in and do the job like Nathaniel Chalobah and Josh McEachran."
Gotta keep that pipeline fed! Queue up the Bertrands and Van Aanholts behind the A.Coles. Queue up the Omeruos and Kalases behind the Terrys. Queue up the Lukakus behind the Torreses and Eto'os. Queue up the Bakers and Bogas and Loftus-Cheeks behind the Matas and Hazards and Oscars. So much talent; is there enough time & space?
"By the time those older guys are 27, the younger ones will be around 22 and ready. The gap is not too big and that makes it easier to bring through young players."
I'm sure he doesn't mean that twenty-two is some sort of magic threshold, but it's important to keep in mind that most of the blue chip prospects in the system are still well south of that age. So there is and should be plenty of time for them to come good and make an impact. Until then, the loans will be beneficial from their own individual perspective as well.
"We identified that for young players, the ages of 18 to 21 is the most difficult time as they wonder if they are good enough for the Chelsea first team and what is next for them. When they only play in the Reserves/Under-21s from 18 to 20 you don't get them to ascend to the level where they are ready to come into the first team and do a job properly."
"We felt it is better for them at that age to go on loan to somewhere where they get visibility and good competition. For psychological and physical reasons that is the best thing to do at that age. They test themselves and they feel good about competing at a higher level, and it also gives us a chance to evaluate them and know if they are ready to come back."
"While we are doing that, the players who are very talented from 16 to 18-years-old get the opportunity to play 45 games in a very good Under-21 league, the UEFA Youth League and the FA Youth Cup. So the development from 16 to 18 is perfect because they have the right games to play, and from 18 to 21 they can go on loan and have the right games to play and it gives us the opportunity to develop them properly and to evaluate them"
While I don't think Emenalo offers up anything truly earth-shattering - we've seen and read similar reasons and explanations in the comments sections around these parts - it's nice to hear confirmation of a long-term, sensible view from The Man with The Plan.
Be sure to give a click over to Chelsea official and read the rest of the interview. And yes, he definitely does keep notes who treats our loanees well (Vitesse, Middlesborough) and who does not.