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Nov, 11, 2008

Chelsea look to develop Academy prospects

Chelsea chief executive Peter Kenyon has rubbished reports that the credit crunch will dramatically alter the club's transfer policy but admitted it was changing the way they look at spending on players.

Kenyon revealed that while the club would be placing more emphasis on producing talent from their Academy that would not limit their movement in the transfer market. Kenyon insisted it was highly unlikely any major signings would be made in the January window due to such players being unavailable mid-season.

"We need to invest continually but not at the levels we used to,'' Kenyon said. "We are not stopping transfers or anything drastic of that nature but we want to develop our own talent.

"I'm not sure there are major players available in January, that's the reality. What is the point in bringing players in - and Felipe is completely on board with this - if the only ones available are not good enough to improve what we've got?

"January is the wrong time to bring players in for the long term. Anything we do will be against the backdrop of a need to, rather than a desire to, like we reacted by bringing in Mineiro after Michael Essien's injury.

"The economic world has changed. It would be remiss of us not to look at the implications of that. You have to recognise that the environment is different to two months ago.''

Chelsea recently offloaded 15 members of their scouting staff, and Kenyon insisted they were simply reacting to market forces.

"You can't believe that what we've enjoyed is going to continue,'' he said. "Marketing budgets are being slashed and that's got implications for everybody. I'm not saying we'll be hit but it's just us looking at deferring some costs and doing a line-by-line review.''

Kenyon also revealed the corporate side of the game could suffer if the economic downturn continues to bite.

"You've got say that as of next season, corporate boxes is the area where most clubs are going to be under most immediate pressure from,'' he added.

Kenyon also had words of praise for coach Luiz Felipe Scolari, believing Chelsea were finally earning respect among fans as a whole rather than being universally hated.

"He's got a very good people manner about him,'' said Kenyon. "He's an experienced coach who engaged with the team and club - and the media - very quickly.

"It's created a better, less negative environment. It's always better to have people, internally and externally, supporting you.

"It's immeasurable in terms of Chelsea's image. People don't like to be hated. We are all human beings and Felipe has clearly engaged with a broader neutral football fan. He is bringing something different to English football.''

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