Chelsea prepare monster bid for ideal transfer target as bizarre James Maddison decision made


Chelsea's young squad will be two weeks older when they next go into battle. That's a boost for Mauricio Pochettino as every little helps with what is a vastly inexperienced group at his disposal.

Although Thiago Silva is not yet 39, though he is just three weeks away from reaching a massive milestone, the rest of his teammates are at least ten years younger than him. Only Raheem Sterling and Ben Chilwell, 28 and 26 respectively, are even close, if a whole decade can be considered close.

There are some that are 20 years younger than most are at least 15 years his junior. He is the outlier in the squad but it doesn't take too much of a leap of faith to suggest that had Todd Boehly and Clearlake Capital headed the club when he became available in 2020, even on a free transfer he wouldn't have been considered.

It is reported in the Telegraph and now by Ben Jacobs that the Blues didn't just make a vague plan to focus on arrivals aged 25 and younger, it was part of the reason they didn't go for new Tottenham midfielder James Maddison. At 26, he is the same age as Chilwell and only slightly older than Christopher Nkunku, Axel Disasi and Robert Sanchez.

That trio are the only players since last summer to arrive aged 25 or older. After Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's move 12 months ago it has been a case of Benjamin Button at Stamford Bridge with the development of an increasingly young squad.

Not going for Maddison, though, who is the exact type of player as an attacker behind a striker that they were looking for, is a massive issue if it is the case.

READ MORE:Chelsea running out of time to complete vital $61m deal after huge transfer window says: The only solace to this, if it's true, is that Spurs did always seem to be winning the race for Maddison. It was Antonio Conte who pushed for him last summer and the deal to get him in the window just passed was wrapped up swiftly. If Chelsea were in the mix, then they had little chance.

To further that, Chelsea had Nkunku until the end of pre-season and grand plans to use him in the No.10 and floating role that Maddison would fit in at SW6 in another universe. It's the logic of such a decision in the first place and the blanket rule against players over 25 that doesn't make sense.

Chelsea were previously cautious of offering new deals to those over 30, which was wrong as well, but going the other way is just as reductionist. Creating a squad of players who are young and can grow together isn't just about finding only those that are still teenagers and talented, immediate quality is needed and it's no surprise that Sterling has been the best Chelsea player so far this season.

Maddison is the sort of player Chelsea would have loved to rely on when trying to break down low-blocks and in hindsight the choice here looks worse than ever, but there are some understandable reasons behind it. Either way, it's not a good long-term strategy to ignore players over 25, especially as most peak after this age.

A deal that Chelsea are reportedly looking to do in the next four months that this exact same rule would strike a line through is buying Ivan Toney. The 27-year-old is still a target for the Blues despite his age, some suggest, and the club are working on preparing an offer in advance of his return to football in January.

Toney won't be available for selection until the end of the winter window due to a ban imposed on him by the FA for breaching betting rules stretching back to his days in League One. He will have less than 18 months on his contract at Brentford by that point and is expected to be the subject of offers from Chelsea and Tottenham.

His 20 league goals last year are more than any Chelsea player has scored in a single season since 2017 and Diego Costa with his 14 without penalties bettered only by Tammy Abraham in the same period. With Pochettino still lacking a consistent scorer of goals, Toney is a player who would likely have been pursued this summer more strongly had he been ready to play straight away.

As it is, Chelsea are just lining up their next big-money move ahead of time and reports are only likely to get stronger as the weeks go on. says: Not changing the rule for Maddison but being prepared to do so with Toney is nothing but strange. Both represent players that are a readymade improvement on the current squad with vital Premier League experience - even if only two years worth in Toney's case - and with a good chunk of years left in them.

The age thing out of the way, for the right price Toney could be one of the best signings available out there. He has added strings to his bow that make him more than just a flat-track bully, even if the direct nature of Brentford's play does bring out the physical parts of his game.

Toney's touch, especially when holding off defenders and linking play with those running around him and beyond him, is one of the great areas that he has elevated to Premier League standard. His finishing is clinical and his attitude relentless. He may well be valued extremely highly by the Bees but, if Chelsea play their cards right, then Pochettino planning for Toney to head up this squad with Nkunku returning is a point to be feared.

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