Chelsea's Mohamed Salah playing in a pre-season friendly against Real Sociedad. Stamford Bridge, August 2014.

A superb XI of players that Chelsea have sold since 2013: KDB, Salah…

Chelsea have one of the slickest recruitment programmes in world football – but that doesn’t mean they haven’t made mistakes in the transfer market.

The club have been known to buy hordes of young players and, if they don’t quite make it into the first-team, Chelsea can sell them on for profit. While this has been beneficial in lots of cases, other players have arguably been sold too soon.

We’ve compiled an XI of players Chelsea have sold since 2013 that’d surely challenge for the Premier League title.

GK: Thibaut Courtois

Courtois was unsettled by the summer of 2018 and pushed for a move to Real Madrid after impressing at the World Cup with Belgium.

His relationship with the Chelsea fans soured after he refused to report for pre-season training and rejected an offer of talks with then-coach Maurizio Sarri.

Once at Madrid, he rubbed salt into the wounds by remarking on the difference in quality in training with his new team and expressing hope that Eden Hazard, Chelsea’s star player, would soon be there to join him.

Courtois remains one of the best goalkeepers in world football and was Man of the Match during Madrid’s victory over Liverpool in the 2022 Champions League final.

RB: Tariq Lamptey

With Reece James ahead of him in the pecking order, Lampety made a £3million move to Brighton in January 2020.

His form at the start of the 2020-21 campaign may have caused Chelsea to reconsider their decision. Blessed with frightening pace, the diminutive full-back performed impressively before succumbing to a season-ending hamstring injury.

English football is hardly lacking in right-backs but Lamptey chose to represent Ghana at the 2022 World Cup. Fair play.

CB: Fikayo Tomori

Thriving in Milan and unlucky not be representing England in Qatar, Tomori has blossomed since leaving Stamford Bridge and Chelsea must be kicking themselves for not including a buy-back clause when negotiating his departure.

AC Milan's Fikayo Tomori celebrates winning the Serie A title at Mapei Stadium – Città del Tricolore, Italy, May 2022.

READ: All hail Fikayo Tomori, Milan’s Serie A campione and England’s best CB

CB: Antonio Rudiger

Rudiger played more than 200 times for the Blues, and played a key part in their Champions League win in 2021, but a move to Spain felt increasingly inevitable during last season.

And the Germany international confirmed his switch to Real Madrid in June 2022, leaving Chelsea with a gaping hole in the centre of their defence.

He tweeted: “I’m proud to announce that I’ll be joining Real Madrid. I’m super excited for all the challenges ahead and can’t wait to play my first games for this huge club.”

LB: Juan Cuadrado

Chelsea’s purchase of Cuadrado in 2015 left plenty of observers scratching their heads, with the Colombian looking far from a quintessential Mourinho player.

Those doubts proved correct, but there was some surprise that Cuadrado was never afforded a chance under Antonio Conte.

Cuadrado went on to win three successive doubles back in Italy with Juventus, plus two more Serie A titles and another Coppa Italia in the next three seasons, and he also helped Juve reach the Champions League final in 2017.

CM: Nemanja Matic

Matic was an integral part of Chelsea’s two title wins during the mid-2010s, providing the solid platform for their more attacking talents to do their stuff.

And the Serbia international cemented his standing at Stamford Bridge with a thunderbolt against Tottenham in the 2017 FA Cup semi-final.

The midfielder left for Manchester United that summer, spending five years at Old Trafford without threatening to eclipse the success he enjoyed at Chelsea.

But, despite United’s various melodramas, Matic still provided reminders of his class and remains one of the best holding midfielders of his era.

CM: Cesc Fabregas

It was strange seeing Fabregas in a Chelsea shirt initially but the former Arsenal midfielder was a huge success at Stamford Bridge, making 198 appearances and winning five trophies there.

Looking to refresh his midfield, Sarri sold the World Cup winner to Monaco for £10million in January 2019. While Chelsea have integrated a number of young players since, Fabregas has provided flashes of inspiration during his time in France.

We wouldn’t expect him to run a half-marathon every game but Fabregas would still be a technically brilliant midfielder in our team.

CM: Kevin De Bruyne

Oh, Chelsea…

RW: Mohamed Salah

Oh, Chelsea…

Mohamed Salah of Chelsea during the Premier League match against Liverpool at Anfield Stadium in Liverpool, United Kingdom on 27th April 2014.

READ: The five players who left Chelsea alongside Mohamed Salah in 2016

CF: Tammy Abraham

Yeah, selling Abraham to finance a move for Romelu Lukaku wasn’t Chelsea’s finest hour…

Tammy Abraham celebrates after Roma beat Lazio 3-0 at the Stadio Olimpico. March 20, 2022.

READ: Tammy Abraham’s derby heroics show Chelsea what they’re missing

LW: Eden Hazard

In fairness to Chelsea, it looks as though they chose the perfect moment to allow Hazard to join Real Madrid in 2019. 

At the time, he was arguably the best player in the Premier League and only had a year left on his contract. Real Madrid spent €100million to get him, but they might have wished they waited a year given he suffered an injury nightmare, making just 22 appearances and scoring one goal in 2019-20. 

Things haven’t improved a great deal since then, especially during Belgium’s clown-car World Cup campaign, but let’s not forget how dazzling he was at Stamford Bridge.

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