The talent pipeline at Cobham is showing no signs of drying up anytime soon, and the next generation of promising youngsters is already knocking on the door of the first-team.
Some, like teenagers Valentino Livramento (now starring at Southampton) and Lewis Bate (now starring for Leeds United U23s) have already decided to switch pathways and they certainly won’t be the last to do so — all other factors aside, there’s only so much room in the first-team after all, and patience appears to be in ever shorter supply (not necessarily a bad thing, that, for the players themselves, obviously).
In any case, one of the most promising new names on the horizon is young attacking midfielder Harvey Vale, who turned 19 just last week — and celebrated it a couple days early by taking a seat on the first-team bench for the first time ever, in our League Cup match against Southampton. Yesterday, he was once again on the bench, in favor of playing for the U19s in the Youth League (they won easily, 5-0).
With Thomas Tuchel, a former youth coach himself, fully cognizant of such upcoming talent and the feel-good factors associated with “our own” playing key roles in the team, Vale’s first-team debut is surely not too far behind.
In the meantime, as reported by The Athletic, Chelsea have already started talks over a contract extension, with Vale just halfway through his initial three-year deal (the maximum allowed) that he signed last year when he turned 17. The club are obviously hoping to avoid another Livramento or Bate situation with a player earmarked for greatness — and so far, things are “heading in a positive direction” even if there is “no rush on either side to finalise terms”.
West Sussex-born Vale, who joined at the U13 level from Fulham, has a handful of goals and almost as many assists across 12 games for the U19s and U23s this season already.
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