Joe Shields is not someone to get a whole lot of publicity at Chelsea. He works in the shadows in an off-the-pitch role, where his job is to solidify the club’s long-term strength. The Englishman was brought on board as Chelsea’s Co-Director of Recruitment and Talent in January 2023.
He has had very little time to really make a major impact, but has used his connections to help the Blues bag a few promising talents. Before his time at Stamford Bridge, Shields gained his reputation with his work at Southampton and Manchester City.
Shields was the Head of Senior Recruitment at Southampton for a few months in 2022. Before that, he spent nine years at City. During his time with the Cityzens, Shields was responsible for scouting promising home-grown players and also worked as their Head of Academy Recruitment and Talent Management for around four years.
The name of Shields is starting to ring nicely with some Chelsea fans after his impressive work since arriving. The Englishman played a key role in helping his side bag promising young talents Cole Palmer and Romeo Lavia in the summer window. He used his connections with his former sides and relations with the young players to convince them to make the move.
Palmer has arguably been their best signing of the summer, revolutionizing their attack with his majestic style. But Shields’ work in finding the best young talents is far from done and now he is scouting players from outside England too.
Recently, an interesting activity in his Instagram profile caught the eye of some Chelsea fans. It appears that the Englishman has started following FC Copenhagen youngster Roony Bardghji. The Swedish young winger had his ‘breakout moment’ in his side’s stunning 4-3 win against Manchester United recently, scoring the winning goal off the bench.
The 18-year-old has 10 goals in 23 appearances for Copenhagen and appears to have attracted the attention of Chelsea. The Blues are reportedly ‘crazy’ about the young winger and want to make a move for him in 2024. This has been solidified by Shields’ decision to follow him on Instagram.
Shields has been excellent in convincing young footballers to join the team he works for in the past. He did it a number of times even before joining Chelsea. He was instrumental in signing Lavia for Southampton after he left Manchester City in 2022. Shields also oversaw Southapton’s signing of promising centre-back Armel Bella-Kotchap last year.
On top of that, during his few months at Southampton, Shields was pivotal in roping in other promising young talents like winger Samuel Edozie and full-back Juan Larios. He was the person to identify the qualities of these relatively unknown talents before they gained a reputation for the Saints.
Now, Shields is focused on doing the same for Chelsea. While he prefers the silent way of doing things, his impressive work is making him more popular among a section of Chelsea fans. He has almost evolved into this cult hero for his impressive work in the recruitment sector. Some even compare him to iconic Music producer J Prince, who was responsible for introducing the likes of Drake and Lil Wayne.
Fans have already grown to love Shields for helping Chelsea sign a quality star like Palmer and also helping them snatch away Lavia from Liverpool. Shields is reportedly ‘the man who built Lavia’s career’, so it’s not shocking that he chose to join the Blues over Jurgen Klopp’s side.
Now, supporters are excited that Shields might be close to bringing in another top young talent to the club. Shields is being showered with praise for his smart work behind the scenes to ensure that Chelsea have the best young squad in the Premier League.
Chelsea’s tendency to invest in young talent ever since Todd Boehly & co became club owners makes one thing clear. They are eyeing long-term domination and a team that can take the Premier League by storm in the mid or late 2020s decade. That is probably why Joe Shields’ fantastic young talent ID will be pivotal in helping Chelsea continue to rope in quality youngsters for years to come.