October 11, 2022
Southampton set to beat Chelsea for Man City academy boss Joe Shields

Southampton set to beat Chelsea for Manchester City academy honcho Joe Shields

Away from the drama surrounding the transfer window and player targets, Chelsea are set to lose revered Manchester City head of recruitment and talent management Joe Shields to join Southampton.

Journalist Fabrice Romano mentioned Chelsea’s interest in Shields and The Telegraph have confirmed Saints are approaching him for the senior recruitment manager job at St Mary’s.

The 35-year-old has played a key role in transforming Man City’s academy into one of the best in England. So far in his tenure at City he has signed Michael Olise, Liam Delap and Jadon Sancho.

Southampton set to beat Chelsea for Manchester City academy honcho Joe Shields.
Joe Shields poses for a photo with former Arsenal striker Nwankwo Kanu. (Picture via Twitter)

Shields has built a reputation for having a keen eye for identifying young talent, who then make it into the first team and in the circumstances they are sold, usually generate a decent transfer fee.

He is Southampton’s first approach to a major recruitment figure since the club was taken over by Serbian businessman Dragan Šolak’s Sport Republic group.

Chelsea’s interest in Shields comes as no surprise, given the few high-profile recruiting mistakes the Blues have made over the years.

How did the Saints beat Chelsea?

Details of Shield’s appointment are still unknown, but more clarity is expected in the coming days. For now, we can only speculate based on his job title. Southampton have offered him full leadership on recruitment as the Blues may have been reluctant to do so given the structure they already have in place.

Shields has been invaluable to City, helping them run one of England’s top academies. Chelsea, on the other hand, can argue for running the best academy in England and one of the best in Europe.

Uthampton are expected to beat Chelsea for Manchester City academy leader Joe Shields.
Chelsea academy has built a solid reputation. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

The names that the Chelsea academy have produced and nurtured – Reece James, Tariq Lamptey, Marc Guehi, Fikayo Tomori, Mason Mount, Conor Gallagher, Tammy Abraham, Tino Livramento, Armando Broja and so many others, far supersede success from City Academy.

According to the CIES Football Observatory, Chelsea’s academy since 2015 has generated £210m in transfer fees, which is far more than any other Premier League team. Manchester City, by comparison, earned £145million.

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Despite Shield’s influence at City, Chelsea clearly seem to know what they are doing. Yes, a mind like his is always an asset in avoiding an absolute disaster like the signing of Romelu Lukaku for a record fee of £97.5million. However, Chelsea’s academy continues to thrive and the Blues can hopefully continue to rely on Cobham for the foreseeable future.

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