Manchester City loses head coach to Premier League rival Chelsea

Manchester City loses head coach to Premier League rival Chelsea

Premier League champions Manchester City will lose an outstanding personality to rivals Chelsea, who continue to undergo a period of transition.

This is the latest in a long and ever-growing list of links between the two clubs, both in terms of historic changes in the hierarchy levels and in terms of respective changes in the first-team squads in recent transfer windows.

While last summer saw the sensational £40 million transfer of Cole Palmer from Manchester City to Chelsea, transfer talks between the two sides have continued this summer, with Stamford Bridge officials keeping an eye on the situation of highly-touted playmaker James McAtee.

Chelsea’s current co-director of recruitment and talent, Joe Shields, is also a former employee and a key cog in the City machine, having progressed from being the club’s ‘Head of Academy Recruitment and Talent Management’ to becoming head of senior recruitment at Southampton.

But the latest swap of key figures comes at a time when Chelsea are experiencing a significant moment in the history of their renowned academy system: the departures of two players were confirmed earlier this week and come as a shock to Stamford Bridge fans.

It is noted that Van der Kraan joined the Etihad Stadium club as “head coach” from Feyenoord in 2020 and has earned “a strong reputation” across the industry for his work on talent development at age group level.

The Dutchman has now informed Manchester City of his decision and will take up an “important position” in the newly formed organization at Stamford Bridge, according to a report from The Athletic.

Chelsea officially announced earlier this week that Neil Bath, the Stamford Bridge club’s director of football development and operations, had decided to step down after more than 30 years at the club.

A statement from the London club said: “Neil has built a well-deserved reputation as one of the world’s leading promoters of youth football and coaching talent over the past three decades.

“His legacy extends far beyond the gates of Chelsea Football Club. It includes a huge number of former players and managers whose careers flourished across the continent thanks to Neil’s influence.

“Neil has built the club’s youth academy into the most successful academy in English football, fostering a winning mentality and a culture of improvement and development.”