Bolton Wanderers goalkeeper Nathan Baxter

The 16 Chelsea academy kids released in summer 2023 & how they’ve fared since

Chelsea boast one of the best youth academies in Europe and have produced some huge stars over the years, but not every young prospect manages to make the cut at Stamford Bridge.

Since Todd Boehly’s arrival in 2022, the Chelsea squad has undergone a huge rebuild and plenty of young players have slipped through their fingers in that time.

We’ve taken a closer look at the 16 academy kids Chelsea released in the summer and have checked out what they are up to now.

Juan Castillo

The Dutch full-back spent seven years in the Ajax academy before he was picked up by Chelsea in 2016. After being promoted to the senior squad, Castillo then spent the next three years out on loan before being released in the summer.

Following his departure from Chelsea, the 23-year-old is still on the lookout for his next club and is currently a free agent.

Derrick Abu

Abu joined Chelsea at the under-11 level and spent over a decade with the club until his contract expired in the summer. It didn’t take long for him to get snatched up though as he promptly penned a two-year deal with Southampton, shortly after his release.

Southampton have one of the youngest squads in the Championship and Saint Mary’s seems like a great place for him to continue his development.

Prince Adegoke

The 20-year-old goalkeeper joined Charlton Athletic’s youth ranks following his release from Chelsea. Technical Director Andy Scott was pleased to get the deal over the line.

“He’s an excellent talent with real potential and will immediately compete for a place in our U21s side, as well as providing back-up cover for the men’s first-team,” Scott said upon Adegoke’s arrival.

Nathan Baxter

Baxter went out on nine different loan spells during his time with Chelsea, but he never got a crack in the first team. Now aged 25, the goalkeeper is ready to forge his own path.

Bolton Wanderers snapped up Baxter in June and he hasn’t looked back since. Ian Evatt’s side currently sit second in League One and Baxter has been one of the best goalkeepers in the league so far.

“I feel like I am developing and improving as a goalkeeper, which I’ll be honest I didn’t expect when I came here, certainly not as much as I have, not necessarily with my quality but with decision-making and style of play,” Baxter explained via the Bolton News.

“I was on the ball in the centre circle against Exeter, which I have never had in my career for any team. I have played for teams that play out from the back but not in the style that we play, so I feel I have learned so much and made such a big improvement.”

Bryan Fiabema

The young forward had loan spells with Rosenborg and Forest Green Rovers before being let go in June. Fiabema has since joined Real Sociedad B where he is continuing his development.

Joe Haigh

The attacking midfielder joined National League outfit Aldershot Town upon his release from Chelsea. Aldershot currently sit 6th in the league and will have their eye on a playoff spot come the end of the season.

Henry Lawrence

Lawrence featured for various England youth groups throughout his younger years and enjoyed two solid loan spells in League One with AFC Wimbledon and MK Dons.

However, the 22-year-old was deemed surplus to requirements in the summer by Chelsea and he has since joined Belgian outfit Standard Liege. Since making the switch, Lawrence has made nine appearances for their development side in the Challenger Pro League.

Sam McClelland

The Northern Ireland impressed while on loan with Barrow last season, but was let go by Chelsea upon his contract expiring. He’s since joined St Johnstone and has made it no secret that he wants to earn more international call-ups in the future.

“I was honoured to get that cap against Ukraine,” McClelland told reporters. “It was brilliant as I want to play for Northern Ireland as many times as I can.

“I know if I play regular first-team football and perform at a high standard, then I’ll give myself the best opportunity to do that.”

Tudor Mendel-Idowu

Mendel-Idowu snubbed interest from Arsenal and Tottenham to join the Chelsea academy in 2013 and he spent the best part of a decade in the club’s youth ranks.

Despite Chelsea reportedly offering the 18-year-old a new contract in the summer, the midfielder snubbed this in favour of forging a career for himself elsewhere.

Barcelona were reportedly interested, but he has since ended up at Anderlecht and now plays for their reserve side.

Xavier Simons

The England U20 international joined Hull City on loan last season and then penned a permanent deal with the club upon his contract with Chelsea expiring.

To continue his development, Hull then loaned Simons out to Fleetwood Town for the season where he has featured in six League One matches so far.

“I found out I was going on loan and there were a few other clubs that came in, but Fleetwood came in and I wanted to come here and show what I was about, you guys play good football and I want to be a part of that,” he told Fleetwood’s website.

Dujon Sterling

Having spent four seasons out on loan with the likes of Coventry, Blackpool and Stoke, Sterling departed from Stamford Bridge in the summer.

Rangers handed the defender a four-year contract, but he’s not had many opportunities to impress yet. With James Tavernier firmly ahead of him in the pecking order at right-back, Sterling has had to settle for a bit-part role so far.

The 25-year-old has only started in one league match and has played just 79 minutes of football in the Scottish Premiership since making the switch. Still, it is early days at his new club.

Silko Thomas

The 19-year-old winger went on trial with Sunderland over the summer, but instead ended up signing for Leicester City. The Foxes snapped up Thomas on a three-year deal and he’s since been playing for Leicester’s development squad.

Sami Tlemcani

Moroccan goalkeeper Tlemcani did have a contract with Chelsea until 2025, but this was cancelled by mutual consent in the summer. He’s since joined AEK Athens B who play in the Greek second division.

“What can I say about the last few years, arriving here when I was only 16, I am 19 today,” Tlemcani wrote on social media upon his departure. “I thank all the members of the staff, coaches, trainers… who were able to make my progress possible, which made me grow.

“Now it’s time for me to take flight towards a new experience.”

Ethan Wady

Fellow goalkeeper Wady also called it quits on his Chelsea career in the summer. The United States goalkeeper joined Championship outfit Millwall and has been playing for their development squad.

Jayden Wareham

Prior to his days in the Chelsea academy, Wareham started his youth career with Reading and he re-joined his boyhood club in the summer upon his release from Stamford Bridge.

The 20-year-old forward has continued his development with the League One club and has exclusively featured in the EFL Trophy and Premier League 2 so far.

Ben Elliott

Along with Wareham, Reading also snapped up Elliott. The 21-year-old midfielder has featured in 15 matches across all competitions so far and has mostly been used as an impact substitute.

“It was a great experience being there for 13/14 years, then eventually coming up and training with the first team definitely helped me improve as a player,” Elliott said upon leaving Chelsea.

“Training with top players like N’Golo Kante, Jorginho, learning off other midfielders, trying to take some stuff I’ve seen from them in training and trying to implement into my game.”

READ NEXT: Where are they now? The 10 signings Jose Mourinho made on his return to Chelsea in 2013

TRY A QUIZ: Can you name Chelsea’s top scorer for every Premier League season?