Mount and Loftus-Cheek show that Chelsea's powerhouse academy must stay well-funded under new owners

Ruben Loftus-Cheek Mason Mount Chelsea Getty Images

The goalscoring impact of Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Mason Mount in the FA Cup semi-final win over Crystal Palace on Sunday was the latest evidence of the effectiveness of the Chelsea academy. 

Their goals at Wembley now give the Blues a chance of revenge against Liverpool in the final next month, after losing the Carabao Cup final against the same opposition in February. 

But amidst the backdrop of these huge matches, there is something far more important happening at Chelsea. 

The long-term future of the club could be decided as early as the midpoint of next week, with three bidders vying to convince Chelsea's board to select them as the new owners. 

Those various billionaires and their advisors will have been watching their potential future assets overcome Patrick Vieira’s Palace in a tight match at the home of English football.

The Blues finally made the breakthrough in the 65th minute as both goals eventually came from marquee talents developed in the Cobham academy.

The original golden boy, Loftus-Cheek, is now 26 years old; he has seen his development stall as a result of poor career decisions and injuries. After initial slow progress however, manager Thomas Tuchel is growing to like the England international after delivering some tough love. 

"It was a big moment," Tuchel said about Loftus-Cheek. "You see in his celebration, it was nice because he is usually a very calm and quiet guy.

Mason Mount quote GFX
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"But to see him like this, jumping and celebrating a goal was good. As I said, he has the opposite of over-confidence. 

“We need to install this confidence into his body, into his game, and these are the next steps for him that he can absolutely feel how much influence he can have."

After Loftus-Cheek emerged in the first team, Mount became the next great Cobham hope and, unlike his England colleague, a relative lack of injuries and brilliant loan decisions have accelerated his development. 

He is arguably his club's most important forward player, with 12 goals and 14 assists to his name this season. Those 26 goal involvements, across all competitions, far exceed the totals of any of his team-mates. 

"It has been a productive season for me. At the beginning of the season, it is something I looked at," Mount told GOAL

"You want to be that midfielder that gets into the box, is a threat and scores. That’s something that I have looked at and always wanted to be. 

"This season it is starting to come off a bit more. But you have periods where you don’t score. I have had those periods this season as well. It is up and down so you have to keep working hard and hopefully, it continues."

One of the first priorities for the new ownership will be to tie down first-team stars to new deals, with Mount in particular due a pay-rise as one of the club's lowest-paid players.

Cesar Azpilicueta and Ruben Loftus-Cheek
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Mount and Loftus-Cheek, along with Reece James, Callum Hudson-Odoi, Andreas Christensen and Trevoh Chalobah, represent homegrown options in Tuchel's expensively assembled squad. 

Each of them represents money saved on signings, with Mount and James likely worth upwards of £75 million ($98m) each. 

Even in Vieira's squad, Chelsea boast loanee Conor Gallagher, while £18m ($23m) signing Marc Guehi shows just how far the Chelsea academy's influence reaches. 

The sale of Guehi along with Tammy Abraham, Fikayo Tomori and other homegrown players last summer represented a £90m ($117m) windfall for the club.

Chelsea have, however, been criticised by the likes of Jamie Carragher for pillaging smaller academies for talent. 

Indeed, it is true that the Blues are the highest payers in the English youth system, alongside Manchester City. They can outspend even Liverpool and Manchester United by some distance. 

Those two super-clubs have American owners and soon Chelsea will too. The argument needs to be made to continue spending huge sums at youth level to stay on top.

In a game where money is king, the Blues have every right to spend to win.

"The last couple of years, the academy has had a huge impact on the first team," captain Cesar Azpilicueta said after the match. 

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"It is true that in the first years after I arrived there maybe weren't so many players coming through but they won a lot of trophies. 

"Recently, we have seen more opportunities for youngsters. The structure has been magnificent and I hope we can keep the structure. That's all I can say, I don't know the plan of the new owners!"

Not only do the likes of Loftus-Cheek and Mount show a return on investment, they are the beating heart of this club and should be part of any new identity in west London.