Premier League

Chelsea academy chiefs leave club as shock overhaul begins

Reece James

Chelsea academy chiefs Neil Bath and Jim Fraser will both depart the club this summer as part of a shock overhaul of the Blues’ development system.

Bath has been with Chelsea since 2004, first as academy manager before 12 years as head of youth development, and was promoted to director of football development and operations in February 2023. Fraser, who has worked under Bath across that time period, took over the youth development role when Bath was promoted.

The duo are widely credited for turning Chelsea’s academy into one of the most successful in the world, having lifted countless trophies at youth level and overseeing the growth of a vast number of players who have made a significant impact on senior football both at Chelsea and elsewhere.

However, numerous outlets, including The Athletic, have confirmed that both Bath and Fraser will now depart the club this summer.

Reece James

Captain Reece James is one of several players to have developed under Bath & Fraser / Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/GettyImages

It is a move which could have drastic implications on Chelsea’s youth setup, but The Guardian state that the pair’s departures have been made amicably, with Bath the first to suggest the idea of an exit before next season, despite Chelsea’s desire to renegotiate his contract.

Replacing Bath and Fraser in the academy setup will not be easy but recruitment directors Joe Shields and Sam Jewell are expected to be given prominent roles in Chelsea’s new-look academy.

Adding to the upheaval this summer, Chelsea also lost Under-21 manager Mark Robinson, whose impressive work with the youth team earned him a job as Burton Albion’s first-team boss.

Chelsea are expected to replace Robinson with 39-year-old Filipe Coelho, who had extensive experience in Benfica’s academy before impressing with Estoril’s Under-23 outfit last season.


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