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Chelsea did not sign Rob Green because he was unearthed by some intrepid scout

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Chelsea’s signing of a homegrown third goalkeeper makes headlines for the second straight day

Photo by Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images

Here are a few probable reasons why Chelsea snapped up 38-year-old Rob Green for free to be the team’s third goalkeeper this season:

  • He was free
  • He is local
  • He’s (probably) not getting paid much, relatively speaking
  • He’s never going to actually play
  • He has plenty of veteran experience
  • He is homegrown and thus can be registered without wasting one of the 17 precious non-homegrown spots on a third goalkeeper (or leaving the third ‘keeper off the list and using an Academy player instead, as we’ve had to do a few times in recent seasons)
  • Nobody who worked on the deal, whoever they may have been, had any major objections to it.

Here is at least one reason that was obviously not used to sign Rob Green:

  • He was identified by some long and thorough scouting process, vetted through all the appropriate in-house channels, put on a list of recommendations for third goalkeeper, which, working its way up the chain of command (edited, reduced on the way up), eventually arrived on the desk of the person in charge with the big sticky note saying ‘SIGN THIS MAN IF YOU WANT TO WIN THE TITLE’

But if we pretend that bringing in Rob Green is a move of any significant consequence, we can produce some sensationalist claptrap, that fits well within the narrative of constant strife behind the scenes at Chelsea. Here’s some lovely copy to that effect by Matt Hughes of the Times, though his executive summary in the tweet is all you really need to know.

Sarri and staff are “bemused” despite the obvious logic of the move (are Sarri and staff that obtuse?).

Sarri was “not involved” but is “not unhappy” and is “relaxed” about it (so not a big deal for a man who’s made it very clear that he doesn’t want to be involved because the transfer market “bores” him).

Green was “not on a list of transfer targets provided by the club’s scouting department and goalkeeping coaches” (do scouting departments spend time producing lists of transfer targets for third goalkeeper?).

Granovskaia “is understood to have done the deal directly with Green’s agent” (how else would this get done?) — the insinuation being that she acted alone and didn’t consult anyone, which a) sounds fanciful and b) is her prerogative as the (de facto?) director of football and the Emperor’s Hand.

And last but not least ... “other coaches and scouts at the club are less sanguine because their recommendations were overlooked largely because of Granovskaia’s desire to add to Chelsea’s quota of home-grown players.”

First off, no such thing as a “quota of home-grown players”. Only the number of non-homegrown players is limited (no more than 17). There is no minimum or maximum for homegrown players, though 8 spots of the maximum 25 players in a squad can only be filled with them. If a team does not have 8, which has been the case for some time at Chelsea, they have to roll with fewer senior players (who then can be supplemented by academy/B-list players).

Second, if our “coaches and scouts” actually spent time looking at third goalkeepers and produced a list of non-homegrown options, they were doing it all wrong from the get-go.

Also, just as a general principle, just because you recommend something to your boss, that by no means should always result in your boss doing what you’re recommending. That sort of comes with the territory and is a fact of life in any business setting, be that professional sports or professional underwater basketweaving.

You may disagree of course, but if you then air your frustrations to the media, you’re doing the “professional” bit all wrong, too.

There are so many things to be concerned about at Chelsea these days ... Rob Green’s signing isn’t one of them. There’s an interesting question that can be asked as to why now this got done (as all it took was a day or two from first phone call to signatures and handshakes), and what may or may not mean for the futures of Courtois and Bulka and a few others, but the actual signing itself is fairly inconsequential. Unless of course we try very hard to create controversy in its wake.