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Manchester City set to lose Head of Coaching to Premier League rivals Chelsea



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Premier League champions Manchester City are set to lose a prominent figure within their set-up to rivals Chelsea, who continue to undergo a shake-up of their operation.

It is the latest in a long and ever-growing list of links between the two clubs, both in terms of historical changes within hierarchy positions, and in their respective first-team squads over recent transfer windows.

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

Chelsea’s current co-director of recruitment and talent Joe Shields is also a former employee and crucial cog in the City wheel, having developed from the club’s ‘head of academy recruitment and talent management’ to become head of senior recruitment at Southampton.

But the latest exchange in key figures comes as Chelsea undergo a significant moment in the history of their prestigious academy system, with the exits of two men confirmed earlier this week, coming as a shock to those of a Stamford Bridge persuasion.

According to the information of The Athletic’s David Ornstein, Chelsea are set to appoint Glenn van der Kraan from Manchester City as a ‘prominent figure’ in their restructured academy set-up following the departures of Neil Bath and Jim Fraser this week.

It is pointed out that Van der Kraan joined the Etihad Stadium club from Feyenoord in 2020 as ‘head of coaching’ and has ‘established a strong reputation’ across the industry for his work around talent development at age-group level.

The Dutchman has now informed Manchester City of his decision and will take a ‘significant position’ in the new-look organisation at Stamford Bridge, according to The Athletic’s report on the matter.

Chelsea formally 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 with the organisation.

A statement from the London club wrote, “For the past three decades, Neil has built a richly deserved reputation as one of the leading developers of youth football and coaching talent across the world.

“His legacy extends well beyond the gates of Chelsea Football Club, with a vast alumni of players and coaches whose careers across the continent have flourished due to Neil’s influence.

“Neil has gone on to transform the Club’s youth set-up into the most successful academy in English football, cultivating a winning mentality and culture of improvement and development.”