The 20 fringe players sold by Chelsea for £125m in just three seasons

Quick Reads

Chelsea are renowned for making a profit on young players that come through their system – and they have generated close to £125millon from the sales of fringe men since 2017-18.

We’ve taken a look at every fringe player sold by the club over the past three seasons, meaning the transfer fees received for the likes of Eden Hazard and Thibaut Courtois haven’t been included.

The majority of the names are young players that failed to establish themselves at Stamford Bridge, with a few senior players who were deemed surplus to requirements.

Mukhtar Ali

Signed from Leyton Orient as a child, Ali spent nine years in Chelsea academy and followed the familiar path of spending time out on loan at Vitesse.

An England youth international, the midfielder has represented Saudi Arabia at senior level but failed to make a mark at Vitesse after joining the club permanently for around £500,000.

Last summer, he moved to Saudi outfit Al-Nassr.

Nathaniel Chalobah

“I had been on a few loans and back and forth. I was never really settled and for me it was more a case of trying to find somewhere to be really settled and try to find somewhere to call home,” Chalobah said upon leaving Chelsea for Watford in a £5million move in 2017.

The midfielder started life at Vicarage Road in eye-catching form, only for a serious knee injury to curtail his momentum, with the 25-year-old struggling to get back to his best ever since.

Nathan Ake

Possibly one Chelsea live to regret, Ake shone enough during Premier League loan spells at Watford and Bournemouth enough to be recalled by Antonio Conte in January 2017 to contribute to the Blues’ title charge.

That only amounted to five appearances in all competitions, but Chelsea still pocketed £20million when Bournemouth re-signed the defender on a permanent basis.

Having established himself as Virgil van Dijk’s centre-back partner with the Netherlands, Ake has been linked with a move to a number of big clubs, including a return to Stamford Bridge.

Bertrand Traore

Currently being linked with a return to the Premier League with Bournemouth, the arrival of Traore in west London ultimately led to Chelsea being handed their transfer ban as he actually played for the club’s youth teams for a number of years before being officially registered.

It was an awful lot of trouble to go to for a player who made only 16 appearances in all competitions and spent three seasons out on loan at Ajax and, of course, Vitesse.

Chelsea were at least able to sell the winger for £8.8million to Lyon in 2017.

Christian Atsu

In four years at Chelsea, Atsu was loaned out five times and never made a competitive appearance for the club before being sold to Newcastle for £6.2million. Proper Chelsea, that.

Juan Cuadrado

Pretty much everybody on the planet knew Cuadrado was never going to last under Jose Mourinho, but that didn’t stop Chelsea spunking £23.3million on the winger.

Come the start of the following season, the Colombia international was back in Serie A on loan at Juventus, who eventually made the signing permanent for £17million.

Thankfully Chelsea didn’t miss a trick with Cuadrado’s replacement, Mo Salah…

Dominic Solanke

Due to Solanke’s age, Chelsea were entitled to compensation when the striker joined Liverpool upon the expiry of his contract at Stamford Bridge. The fee had to be determined by tribunal, with Liverpool offering to pay £3million but Chelsea wanting closer to £10million.

Given Liverpool managed to offload Solanke for £19million after one Premier League goal, whatever the tribunal fee, both clubs were ultimately winners. Bournemouth, less so.

Asmir Begovic

Bournemouth’s £10million signing of Begovic seemed like good value at the time. Now he’s just returned from loan at Qarabag only to be immediately sent out to Milan, it seems like Bournemouth are just really bad at transfers.

Charlie Colkett

“It would be harsh to say I was let down,” Colkett told the BBC in April 2019. “But you become part of the system and, at the end of the day, end up being a bit of a number.”

The midfielder captained Chelsea’s youth team to back-to-back FA Youth Cup and UEFA Youth League titles before being loaned out to Bristol Rovers, Swindon Town, Vitesse and Shrewsbury, and he says such upheaval had a negative impact on his mental health.

“Mentally, it was one of the toughest times of my life, going from place to place and being told go here, go there, this will be the one, this will be the one. You believe that it’s the process and you trust it, but you don’t always get the fair opportunity or the right move.”

The 23-year-old left Stamford Bridge on a permanent deal in January 2019, joining Swedish outfit Ostersunds.

Cesc Fabregas

We miss Cesc. We miss his assists and his right foot and his kind face. Chelsea didn’t consider that when they sold the midfielder to Monaco for £8.9million, did they?

Jeremie Boga

One 18-minute appearance for Chelsea, three loan spells away from the club, one £3.5million transfer to Sassuolo, one banger in Serie A. Get him back.

Jonathan Panzo

One of England’s Under-17 World Cup winners, Panzo jumped ship from Chelsea before they could send him to Vitesse by joining Monaco for around £2.5million in 2018.

Still just 19, the centre-back has made three appearances for the French side, although he hasn’t been able to escape the clutches of a loan move and is currently gaining plenty of first-team experience at Cercle Brugge.

Kenneth Omeruo

Omeruo earned over 50 caps for Nigeria and played in two World Cups during his seven years at Chelsea. Sadly, he spent the entire time out on loan and never made an appearance for the Blues.

The defender made a permanent switch to Leganes for around £4.5million in 2019, telling the BBC: “I deserve stability in my career as a footballer. Leganes and Spanish football provides me with the continuity and right environment for career growth.

“After enduring instability with different loan moves, it’s time to finally settle down with my young family.”

Kasey Palmer

On a similar theme, Palmer told Bristol City’s official website after making his loan move permanent in a £3.5million deal: “The stability side of things will be important…it is so much better knowing this is my home over the next four years, instead of one year and then going back to Chelsea, so it’s a good platform and we can build on it.”

Daishawn Redan

A Netherlands youth international, Redan spent two years in Chelsea’s academy after joining from Ajax. The forward departed for Hertha Berlin amid reports in Bild he saw ‘no chance’ of breaking through in west London.

The 18-year-old made his Bundesliga debut in August by replacing another former Chelsea player in Salomon Kalou.

Tomas Kalas

Bristol City spending a club record £8million to sign Kalas goes a long way to explain why Chelsea do all this.

Victorien Angban

Metz spending £5million to sign Angban – nope, us neither – goes a long way to explaining why Chelsea do all this.

Jay Dasilva

Bristol City. £2million. Fractured his leg in training after one match this season. Bloody hell.

Ola Aina

Aina was actually allowed to play for Chelsea, appearing six times under Antonio Conte in 2016-17 as the Blues won the title, while he later caught the eye on loan at Hull City and Torino.

The Nigeria international, who represented England at youth level, was signed for £9million by Torino upon the end of his loan spell and has established himself as a regular in Serie A.

Michael Hector

The remarkable thing about Hector’s career is that he was loaned out more times by Reading (11) than Chelsea (four).

It’s not quite clear why Chelsea signed the defender for £4million in 2015, and he never played for the club, but they doubled their money by selling him to Fulham for £8million.

At the age of 27 he has played for 16 different clubs.


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