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Declan Rice during the Premier League match between West Ham United and Chelsea at London Stadium, London, February 2023.

An incredible XI of academy players Chelsea have sold since 2006

Chelsea have one of the most successful youth academies in world football but plenty of their graduates have flourished away from Stamford Bridge – as this amazing XI demonstrates.

The Blues invested heavily in their youth system under Roman Abramovich and, while it took some time to pay dividends, a flood of exciting young talent has emerged from Cobham over recent seasons.

But, despite the success of Mason Mount and Reece James, plenty more have been squeezed out of the club and forced to find success elsewhere.

We’ve compiled an XI of Chelsea youth products that flourished after leaving Stamford Bridge, lining up in the kind of 5-2-3 formation that would have given Jose Mourinho nightmares…

GK: Neil Etheridge

Chelsea haven’t produced many great goalkeepers themselves, although that hardly matters when you sign players like Petr Cech, Thibaut Courtois and Edouard Mendy.

The best option is Etheridge, who left Chelsea’s academy at the age of 16 and has forged an impressive career in England’s lower leagues

He is currently playing for Birmingham City and has won 70 caps for the Phillippines.

RWB: Tariq Lamptey

Lamptey is regarded as one of the best young players in the Premer League but, with Reece James ahead of him in the pecking order, first-team chances were scarce at Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea sold the defender to Brighton in 2020 where Lamptey has continued his progression into a fine Premier League player and always seems to have a smile on his face.

Both Tottenham and Manchester United were linked with big-money moves for the Ghana international last season and don’t bet against him playing Champions League football one day.

CB: Andreas Christensen

Christensen joined Chelsea from Brondby at the age of 15 and made 161 club appearances under five different managers.

The Denmark international struggled under Maurizio Sarri and Frank Lampard but rediscovered his best form under Thomas Tuchel and played a key role in their Champions League success in 2021

Despite becoming a mainstay of the Chelsea defence, Christensen decided to leave the club at the end of the 2021-22 season and joined Barcelona on a free transfer.

CB: Fikayo Tomori

Chelsea have been scrambling around for centre-backs all summer when they could have just kept Tomori…

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: Marc Guehi

Guehi joined Chelsea’s academy from Cray Wanderers back in 2007 and emerged as one of the most promising defenders in his age group.

After spending a season and a half on loan at Swansea City in the 2019-20 and 2020-21 seasons, producing some impressive performances, many expected Guehi to be integrated into the Chelsea squad.

But Tuchel sold the defender to Crystal Palace in 2021 for a fee of £18million and could only watch in anguish as Guehi became one of the signings of the season, while also making his England debut in March 2022.

LWB: Jeremie Boga

Boga spent ten years in west London, joining Chelsea’s academy in 2009 and winning a number of youth trophies including two FA Cups, the Development League title and the UEFA Youth League.

But the Ivory Coast international made just one 18-minute appearance for Chelsea before being shipped off to Sassuolo in a £3.5million deal in the summer of 2018.

His performances in Serie A were so impressive that they convinced Atalanta to splash a club-record €22million fee for him in January 2022.

CM: Declan Rice

Alright, we are cheating slightly here – Chelsea never sold Rice but they did release him from their academy aged 14.

And Chelsea’s loss has been West Ham’s gain; Rice has developed into one of the world’s leading defensive midfielders while captaining the Hammers to two consecutive top-seven finishes for the first time in their history.

The Surrey native has also become integral to the England side and it’s not hard to see why.

Composed on the ball, blessed with an excellent passing range, and an increasingly sharp eye for goal, Rice will have a queue of suitors when he decides to leave West Ham.

CM: Nathaniel Chalobah

Chalobah joined Chelsea as a 10-year-old and made 15 appearances for the club in 2016-17 as the Blues won the Premier League title.

But, after a number of loan spells beforehand, it was no surprise when he joined Watford on a permanent basis at the end of that season.

“Like any young player, you want to play football,” Chalobah told talkSPORT in 2018. “It was time for me to venture out and see if I can get some games under my belt and see where that takes me. It wasn’t an easy decision at all.”

The midfielder, who has one England cap to his name, is currently on Fulham’s books.

RW: Bertrand Traore

Traore was first linked with a move to Chelsea in 2010 from Auxerre but it was 2013 when he finally joined the club’s academy.

He was loaned to Vitesse and Ajax before making 10 league appearances for Chelsea, scoring twice.

Traore then spent three years with Lyon, impressing enough to earn a £17million switch to Aston Villa in 2020, where he made minimal impact before being loaned out to Istanbul Basaksehir.

LW: Jamal Musiala

Yes, we know Musiala isn’t a left-winger these days. Grant us some artistic license.

After spending eight years in Chelsea’s youth system, becoming one of the most desirable talents in European football, Bayern Munich enrolled Musiala in their own under-17 academy in July 2019.

It’s been a meteoric rise since; Musiala is now a mainstay of the Bayern and Germany midfield and is widely considered one of Europe’s hottest talents.

ST: Tammy Abraham

Come back Tammy, all is forgiven.


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