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Borussia Dortmund linked to De Bruyne, highlighting the genius of Chelsea's recent transfer policy

While the idea of selling the Belgian makes me sick to my stomach, the figure being talked about make me smile

Otto Greule Jr

There was some interesting news from the German press today involving Chelsea's on-loan Kevin De Bruyne. According to RP, Borussia Dortmund are interested in the Belgian international and are willing to (or have) made a bid of €17 million to acquire his services on a permanent basis.

Personally, I'm not too worried by this particular report and what it could mean for Chelsea. Even if this is true (and I'm not entirely sure it is), there's basically no chance that the club are going to decide to cash in on De Bruyne this early in his tenure as a Chelsea player. He's young and still developing, and it's not hard to imagine that his value is only going to continue to rise for the next several seasons.

This sort of "news" does highlight one of the real strengths of the recent buying policy of Chelsea though, even if some foolishly look at it as a "problem. Whether or not Dortmund actually made a bid of that amount for Kevin De Bruyne, there is little doubt that he's currently worth at least that sort of money. That means that 1 year after buying him, a young player that hasn't gotten a minute for the first team is being valued in the neighborhood of double the fee that Chelsea paid (if the German press is to be trusted).

This probably isn't isolated to De Bruyne either, as it seems to be pretty commonplace among the purchases made since Michael Emenalo took over. Romelu Lukaku went for an initial fee in the region of £12 million, and I think I'd fall out of my chair laughing if anyone didn't think his value had skyrocketed since his move just under 2 years ago. Thibaut Courtois has also seen his value go through the roof, as the Belgian keeper is likely worth at least double (and more probably triple) what Chelsea initially paid for him.

While I am not advocating selling Kevin De Bruyne to Borussia Dortmund at all, rumors like this highlight the way that Chelsea have gotten a step ahead of their opponents in the FFP era. Michael Emenalo seems to have identified young stars between 16 and 21 from many of the smaller leagues around Europe and South America as being undervalued commodities, and has accordingly loaded the system with that type of player despite there not being a clear path to the Chelsea first team. It's the sort of thing Billy Beane did with Oakland way back when, identifying college players as a group that was improperly valued and then taking advantage to the benefit of the A's.

Emenalo then loans these undervalued players out to clubs where they get valuable first team exposure, and have the opportunity to show what they can do against established professionals. As these players get seen by more and more managers and scouts than they did in, say...Serbia, and their perceived value shoots through the roof.

This system is probably better for the players than the English media will ever admit as well. While the media will likely cite the lack of a clear path to the first team as a hindrance to development, the truth of the matter is that the loan system may be better for rapidly developing talent than even a "B team" system would. A youngster like Tomas Kalas that begins to master the Eredivisie doesn't have to worry about having 4 more years on his Vitesse contract. In this case, he can be given a loan to an appropriate level of competition every single season while he's developing. This wouldn't be the case if he was under contract at a club like PSV, or even with the Barcelona B team. While making the jump from a loan to Chelsea will always be an issue without a B team, the development of these youngsters should benefit from playing at a level of competition appropriate for them at all times.

Regardless of whether or not Chelsea ever bring these players to their first team (and they surely will with some of them), they are positioning themselves to cash in on the ones deemed surplus to the requirements at a massive profit from their purchase price. Rumors like this one just confirm the fact that these young players are gaining value. It's an excellent way for the club to assure they can continue to afford the best talent in the world, and it's certainly not bad for a developing young talent either. There is just no such thing as too much young talent in the sport, and anyone complaining when the club continues to add more should really think long and hard about why.

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