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

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Kevin De Bruyne during his time at Chelsea

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.

Edouard Mendy has proved to be a fine replacement but Courtois remains one of the best goalkeepers in world football.

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 has the talent to become an England international in the future. Don’t rule out Chelsea buying him back at some point.

CB: Fikayo Tomori

Thriving in Milan and back in the England squad – 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 defender Fikayo Tomori, September 2021.

READ: Fikayo Tomori & a stunning tackle that may cause Chelsea some regret

CB: Kurt Zouma

Zouma spent seven years at Chelsea without ever quite suggesting he’d become the next John Terry.

But you don’t make 150 odd appearances for a club with Chelsea’s standards without being brilliant at your job and the France international is a fine centre-back.

He moved to West Ham in 2021 for a fee of £30million in what seems a transfer that suits all parties – the right player, playing for the right manager, at the right club.

LB: Nathan Ake

He may not be a first-team regular at Manchester City but Ake remains a player of immense ability.

More of a centre-back than a left-back, the defender started Chelsea’s FA Cup semi-final win over Spurs in 2017 but was sold to Bournemouth for £20million that summer.

His reputation grew during three years on the south coast before moving to City for a reported fee of £41million.

He’s struggled for game time at the Etihad due to inconsistent form and injuries, but when Virgil van Dijk calls you ‘underrated’ any doubts over your capabilities should be squashed.

CM: Mario Pasalic

Chelsea are infamous for sending their employees out on loan deals until they’re old enough to be drawing a pension.

Pasalic was a prime example. After being plucked from hometown club Hadjuk Split, the midfielder was sent on five loans – to Elche, Monaco, AC Milan, Spartak Moscow and Atalanta.

The final club were suitably impressed to offer Pasalic a permanent escape from his Stamford Bridge purgatory and paid Chelsea €15million for his services. He never played a first-team game in England.

Atalanta are one of European football’s great entertainers and the Croatia international has fitted in seamlessly with a number of classy performances.

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 the 34-year-old to run a half-marathon every game but Fabregas would still be a technically brilliant midfielder in our team.

CM: Kevin De Bruyne

Having arrived as one of the most highly-rated youngsters in Europe when he was signed as a 20-year-old in January 2012, De Bruyne had to be patient for opportunities. 

He was loaned back to Genk and then Werder Bremen before returning to make two Premier League starts under Jose Mourinho during the 2013-14 campaign. 

The Belgium international instantly shone at Wolfsburg when he was sold for an £18million fee in January 2014. But given his failure to make an impact at Chelsea, some questioned Manchester City’s wisdom in sanctioning a massive £55million move in 2015. 

Six years, 69 goals, 107 assists, three league titles and two PFA Players’ Player of the Year awards later, no one’s questioning that fee now. 

RW: Mohamed Salah

Oh, Chelsea. 

Mohamed Salah playing for Chelsea

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

CF: Romelu Lukaku

It would have saved Chelsea a lot of time and £97.5million if they’d just kept Lukaku at the club back in 2014. 

Still, he might not be the player he is today without those spells at Everton, Manchester United and Inter Milan.

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, but he’s shown the odd flash of becoming that dazzling superstar once again. 

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