Chelsea have arranged an affiliation with a leading junior club in the heart of Newcastle and will do the same on the doorstep of other Premier League rivals as they react to Brexit restrictions on overseas recruitment.
Chelsea are in the process of developing similar arrangements around the UK and another affiliate close to Bristol City has been set up.
Chelsea plan to scout young talent on the doorstep of other Premier League rivals Newcastle
Chelsea manager Frank Lampard has given youth a chance during his time at Stamford Bridge
Such relationships are not allowed to become official under Premier League rules as clubs cannot have development centres more than an hour’s drive from their academy base. Chelsea will also have to wait until players turn 14 before they can attempt to sign them.
This new strategy is seen as necessary given the restrictions on overseas recruitment.
Brexit rules mean English clubs will no longer be able to sign players from abroad until they are 18. There is also a new points-based criteria system that will limit the number of foreign players given permission to play in this country.
Chelsea, who have previously hoovered up foreign talent at an early age, now want to gain a greater knowledge of youth players in the UK and be in position to act at the first opportunity.
They will do this by increasing their scouting presence and setting up links with junior clubs such as Newcastle City Juniors, who currently have 56 of their former players contracted to professional clubs.
Sportsmail has spoken to several scouts who say domestic youth recruitment is about to become more competitive than ever. As one source said: ‘We’re all fishing in the same pond now. We need to be creative.’
However Chelsea will have to wait until players turn 14 before they can attempt to sign them
Clubs are now thinking of ways to gain an advantage over rivals. Chelsea, for example, have loaned a camera system to City Juniors that enables the recording of training and matches for analysis and development purposes.
Newcastle United did not comment on the Chelsea link-up with City Juniors but we understand they accept they cannot stop Premier League rivals scouting in the area.
Brighton and Southampton are also currently looking to hire North East scouts.
A Chelsea spokesman said: ‘Establishing and maintaining good relationships with grassroots clubs up and down the country is something we have always been keen on.’