Chelsea told they have to protect “two most important signings” after transfer mistakes
Former Chelsea assistant manager Jody Morris has issued a warning to his old club as some of the Blues’ academy stars have thrived since leaving Stamford Bridge
Chelsea have been left under no illusions about the importance of Reece James and Mason Mount as the two England stars look to commit their long-term futures to the club.
James has signed a new six-year deal with the Blues, reportedly making him one of the highest-paid defenders in the squad. Mount is under contract until 2024, but he too could be in line for an extension with reports suggesting talks have begun.
Former Chelsea assistant manager Jody Morris has called for the club to learn from their past mistakes, after allowing other academy graduates to leave before reaching their potential. Indeed, the ex-midfielder has told Mirror Football the new contracts could be just as important as any new arrival, in a summer which saw the London side spend more than any other Premier League club.
“Mason Mount, Reece James, I think they should be two of the most important signings this summer if the club can tie them down to longer deals,” Morris says. “They’re the first names on the teamsheet and I think everyone in world football would want a Mason Mount or a Reece James.
However, while those two look set to stay part of the squad for years to come, there are questions elsewhere. Callum Hudson-Odoi has joined Bayer Leverkusen on loan, while Thomas Tuchel’s side have been forced to dip into the market to make up for the loss of Tammy Abraham, Fikayo Tomori and Marc Guehi in recent years.
“You look at Tammy, Fikayo, Marc Guehi, all moved on and it looks like they’re absolutely loving it,” he adds. They’ve proved that Chelsea maybe shouldn’t have let go of them so cheap.”
Hudson-Odoi played 45 times in the Premier League for Chelsea during the 2019-20 and 2020-21 seasons, when Morris was in the dugout with then-manager Frank Lampard. However, after playing just 15 matches in the competition last season, he moved on loan to Germany after speaking to Chelsea’s former Bayer Leverkusen star Kai Havertz.
“He told me it’s amazing, obviously, that everyone around that he’s been with the past years have been amazing for him,” the winger said. “He enjoyed every moment of it and he said you’ll love it over there – just go, do you and be confident and everything will go well.”
Morris, who was speaking to Mirror Football from the launch of the OPPO Smartphone series, admitted he’d love to see more of Chelsea’s academy graduates in the first team. However, he recognised the need for Hudson-Odoi and others to move elsewhere for more regular game time.
“I think Callum needs to play games. He’s a very talented boy,” Morris continues. I would love them all to be at Chelsea and playing, I’d love 11 homegrown players, really, but if they ain’t playing then they need to go and play.
“They need to look after themselves, look after their careers, and at the moment if that means going to Germany for Callum or going to Brighton for Billy [Gilmour] then so be it. I think they’re both top, top players and good enough for Chelsea, but at the moment if they’re not playing then they need to go and play.”
Making the right moves is also important, and Gilmour’s Brighton switch comes after a difficult year at Norwich last season. As far as other former Chelsea youngsters are concerned, though, the right fits have regularly been found.
“I remember speaking to Tammy before he went there [to Roma] and I know he had other options,” he explains. “But I was like ‘an opportunity to work with one of the greatest managers of all time is too good to turn down, and it might be a thing you need’.” .
“You’re going to be improved as a player working under Jose Mourinho. The fact that he’s gone over there and scored as many goals as he has, I think you put Tammy in a park team around the corner and he’d still want to score more goals than anyone else on the pitch. That’s just how he is, he’ll score goals no matter who he plays for, and I think he’ll be like that until he retires.
“I think he’d get into the Chelsea team right now as a number nine, obviously depending on who we signed. Tammy Abraham, with his record for Chelsea as a number nine, I think it’s better than any of the number nines who have been there.
“It wouldn’t surprise me [to see him return], we’ve seen over the years that Chelsea don’t mind getting some players back if they go, but who knows. As a fan I would have loved to see Tammy still be at Chelsea, but as someone who knows him really well I’m really pleased see he’s gone onto pastures new and is performing at the level he is.”