Football News

Quina’s reason for rejecting Chelsea deal shows how important Lampard’s academy strategy is

By Harry Edwards

Published: 15:41, 27 August 2019

Watford teenager Domingos Quina has revealed why he left Chelsea in 2016, highlighting how important Frank Lampard’s strategy at Cobham is.

Portuguese Under-20 international Quina had been at Chelsea since the age of 13, joining from Benfica after trials with Manchester City and Fulham.

Why did Domingos Quina leave Chelsea? Five things to know…

  • Quina joined Chelsea from Benfica in 2013
  • But three years later he left for West Ham, despite being offered a professional contract.
  • Quina admits he turned down the contract after seeing “really good” players ahead of him in the pecking order fail to get a chance.
  • The Portuguese Under-20 international joined West Ham before signing for Watford in 2018.
  • Chelsea have now been forced to look to their academy products due to a two-window transfer ban.

But three years later Quina left to join West Ham United, potentially adding his name to the list of those who got away from Chelsea – which includes the likes of Declan Rice and Chris Mepham.

And Quina has revealed exactly why he left the Blues in 2016, turning down a professional contract, to pursue first-team opportunities elsewhere.

“I was 16 when Chelsea offered me a pro deal,” he told Watford’s official website.

“But I was seeing older players who I thought were really good – like Nate [Chalobah], Jeremie Boga and Charly Musonda – not playing in the first team so I decided maybe it was better to go somewhere else where I’d have more chance of playing.

“It was brave but I will always back myself and if something comes to mind I just do it and see what happens. That’s when I decided to go to West Ham.”

Quina would spend two years at West Ham, making six first-team appearances before joining Watford in 2018. Since the move, Quina has played 14 times for Watford, but has only managed four minutes so far this season.

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Lampard’s youth strategy

Like Quina, Chalobah and Boga have moved on from Chelsea permanently, while Musonda is still at the club – albeit on loan at Vitesse Arnhem after struggling with injury issues.

For years Chelsea have built a poor reputation for the use – or lack of – of their academy players, despite boasting one of the best youth systems in Europe, as shown by their previous Uefa Youth League successes.

This season Chelsea have been forced to look inwards following their two-window transfer ban, but new manager Lampard and assistant Jody Morris – who was key to the academy successes of late – look determined to turn the negative into a positive.

Mason Mount and Tammy Abraham are already looking to be key players for Chelsea this season, while Callum Hudson-Odoi is another academy product expected to star once he returns from injury, suggesting that future prospects may not decide to look for chances elsewhere as a pathway is now being walked by others.

Speaking between Chelsea’s defeats to Manchester United and Liverpool, Lampard defended his selection of younger stars, saying: “I pick the best team to win the game, regardless of age.

“Mount deserves his chance on merit. I will have no fears to play players because of their age. They will always have a chance.”

In their 3-2 win over Norwich City at the weekend, Chelsea named their youngest Premier League starting XI since February 1994, with an average age of 24 years and 208 days – including the likes of Mount, Abraham, Christian Pulisic, Kurt Zouma and Andreas Christensen.