Fulham Boss Chris Coleman concedes competing with the likes of Chelsea for top youngsters is near impossible but insists Fulham do have one crucial edge over their bigger rivals.
Coleman accepts that Fulham are in a weaker bargaining position than the cash-rich Barclays Premiership big guns when it comes to attracting emerging prospects.
But he believes their ability to offer a genuine chance of playing first-team football gives them leverage over major clubs with larger squads.
Liam Rosenior, Zat Knight and Collins John are first team regulars who arrived at Craven Cottage as teenagers and the club also has a respected academy set-up.
“What I say to the good young players thinking about joining Chelsea or Manchester United is that they have a much better chance of playing for us,” he said.
“They may be getting the big financial hit to start with when they go there but that won’t last forever.
You’ve got a much better chance of playing for Fulham, West Ham and clubs like us than they have of getting into Chelsea’s team.
“No disrespect to Chelsea, but they will sign any player in the world at the drop of a hat and that’s what young players are hoping.
“The lure is they’ve left school for Chelsea, they’re training with John Terry the England captain, Jose Mourinho is the boss and they have a fantastic stadium.
“But, two years down the line, they’d better be extra-special because otherwise they’re not going to play.
“They don’t have to be extra-special for us, they need to be good and they can get in our team and play first-team football earlier.”
Chelsea’s lure is not just confined to youngsters, with the Blues flexing their financial muscle to recruit world-class performers such as Andriy Shevchenko and Michael Ballack.
Their enormous spending power under Roman Abramovich has led to calls for the introduction of a salary cap in the hope it would stop the Premiership becoming a perennial one-horse race.
Coleman would welcome a cap, as it would have no effect on Fulham’s modest wage bill, but he believes it would be difficult to implement.
“A salary cap wouldn’t affect us, that’s for sure,” he said.
“I don’t know whether it will happen. It’s been talked about for a few years and I don’t think it will happen. Legally I think there would be problems.
“Even if a salary cap was brought in, I’m sure they would find a way to pay over it. I don’t think it will happen.”