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Miss me? How this past week exposed Chelsea since Emenalo exit

COMMENT: Michael Emenalo isn't one to gloat. Nor one quick with a 'I told you so'. Indeed, if the best revenge is to live well, then the former Chelsea technical director personifies it...

Watching on from La Turbie, AS Monaco's football chief would be forgiven for a bit crowing. Some boastful jibes fired back across the Channel. Why not? It's been some week for Emenalo and the legacy he left at Chelsea.

You hope he and Andoni Zubizarreta, Olympique Marseille's sports director, were able to swap some war stories when OM met Monaco earlier this year. If you want to talk football injustice, there's not many who have suffered like Zubi. Dumped by Barcelona midway through their 2014/15 Treble winning season - and all achieved with the team he built and the coach - Luis Enrique - he appointed. But after events this past week, Emenalo can rightly say he'd run Zubi close.

On Monday night, they did it again. Chelsea thumped Arsenal at Emirates stadium 4-0 in the second-leg of the FA Youth Cup final, winning the title 7-1 on aggregate. It was their fifth consecutive Cup victory. All achieved by players produced in a youth system Emenalo had quietly developed over the 11 years he was with the club. He won't say it publicly, but the Nigerian did his job. He put the pyramid in place. That it all falls apart at first team level is no fault of his.

And a week ago. Sunday night in London. The PFA named Mohamed Salah, the Liverpool striker, their Player of the Year ahead of Manchester City's Kevin de Bruyne. Two players first brought to England by Emenalo. Two attackers he identified as future world-beaters. And now, away from Stamford Bridge, they're both being heralded as genuine Ballon d'Or prospects. Again, he won't gloat. But this is La Masia stuff that Emenalo managed. Xavi, Leo Messi, Andres Iniesta? Well, how about Salah, De Bruyne and Eden Hazard? Only, Chelsea fans were never able to see what their former technical director envisioned. Again, it fell apart at first team level.

So was there anything from Emenalo in the French press this past week? A little boast? Even just a nod to the results his work had produced? Erm, no. There's too much to be done at La Turbie. He was in the local media, but it had nothing to do with Chelsea. Well not directly, anyway...

For in his recent work at Monaco, he's actually showing up his old employers. For anyone paying attention, Emenalo has this past week highlighted just the expertise Chelsea are missing.

Yesterday it was revealed Serge Recordier, Nice's technical manager, is now packing his bags and preparing to join Emenalo's team at ASM. This appointment comes just weeks after Yannick Menu, a coaching director at Rennes, joined as Emenalo's direct assistant. It was Menu who first spotted Tiemoue Bakayoko, the Chelsea midfielder, running around for little Montrouge FC 92 before taking him to Rennes. Two top drawer talent spotters - and with coaching experience. That's two more football chiefs than Chelsea have managed to hire since Emenalo's departure.

While his old club are still muddling their way through how best to address transfers and who's in charge of what and where - Emenalo has been building his own crack team. And he's already put his stamp on transfer policy with a first signing.

Edgaras Utkus was snapped up by Emenalo as his first piece of business in his new job. The attacking midfielder is your typical Emenalo signing. 17 years of age. An attacking midfielder. And from Lithuania. You just know Emenalo had been watching his progress for years during his regular trips to Eastern Europe. Chelsea's loss is Monaco's gain.

This is not to say Emenalo's resignation from Chelsea was unexpected. His confrontations with Antonio Conte, the Blues manager, were well known. And this column was critical of his disregard for Jose Mourinho's concerns about an ageing and unmotivated squad in the now Manchester United manager's final six months in charge.

But this week, on both sides of the Channel, we've witnessed the legacy Emenalo built, not only at Chelsea, but across English football. And as he welcomes his new appointments, we're also seeing what Chelsea have failed to address since his departure.

In England, it's been a good week for Emenalo. But he won't acknowledge it. There's players to be scouted and signings to be made. Just by getting his head down and working at Monaco, Michael Emenalo is exposing just how much he is missed at Stamford Bridge.

Chris Beattie
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Chris Beattie

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