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Chelsea sack scouts as pressure grows on Arnesen

Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich has sacked 15 members of staff in a bid to cut the Londoners' massive costs.

Over half of the club's 25-man scouting department were released last week, including the former Scotland under-21 coach and Germany international Rainer Bonhoff, while there is increasing pressure on chief scout and director of youth development, Frank Arnesen, to justify his position at the club.

Changes to the club's scouting network had long been mooted, although suggestions are that the worsening economic climate has had an impact on the Russian billionaire whose fortune is estimated to be over £11 billion.

A Chelsea spokesman said: ''We are restructuring our scouting network in order to re-focus priorities on key targets and in key territories.

''With a total debt of more than £736 million, sacking the £100,000-a-year scouts will only scratch the surface in balancing the books - something Abramovich wants to see done by 2010."

The Chelsea hierarchy have been reportedly been disappointed at the relatively small number of youngsters recruited from abroad by Arnesen, with John Terry, ten years ago, the last home-grown player to become a regular at the club.

With the only youngsters to have made the step-up to the first team being Franco Di Santo and Scott Sinclair, despite being signed from other clubs, the Danish chief's £1.8 million-a-year salary has come under scrutiny after his controversial move from Tottenham three and a half years ago.

Last week, manager Luiz Felipe Scoalri admitted that he would need to sell players if he is to strengthen his squad in other areas during the mid-winter transfer window, but claimed he was happy with the club's financial position.

Scolari told The Daily Mail, "It's not (just) Chelsea who are not spending money. I think all the clubs in the world will not spend as much as they spent before.

"The situation in the world is different to six months ago. The players need to be thinking about this and the clubs need to be thinking about this. In football sometimes you don't need money to make a good change. I'm happy with the way Chelsea are thinking, which is different than before."

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