Chelsea’s academy graduates are flourishing for the club.
Tammy Abraham, Mason Mount and Fikayo Tomori have become established first-team stars under manager Frank Lampard this season.
Abraham has scored 10 goals, Mount has netted four times, while Tomori has formed a solid partnership with Kurt Zouma in the heart of defence.
The trio will look to impress again when Chelsea host Crystal Palace, LIVE on talkSPORT on Saturday, although Mount is a serious doubt with an ankle injury.
Chelsea’s academy starlets have not always been given the chance to impress the Stamford Bridge faithful.
But the youngsters finally blossoming aren’t the only players who have come through the academy in recent years with several others lost by Blues.
Below, talkSPORT.com looks at nine Chelsea youngsters who got away.
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Declan Rice (West Ham)
The 20-year-old’s form for West Ham over the past two years has seen him linked with a big-money move to Manchester United.
He is a regular in England’s midfield and is set to feature at Euro 2020 next summer.
Rice was released by Chelsea at the age of 14 and went on to join West Ham’s academy.
Speaking about his Stamford Bridge exit, he said: “It was a massive shock. I just broke down, because that was all I’d known since I was eight years old.
“We asked for the reason and they said, ‘You’ve got to come in for a meeting’, which we did book – and then they cancelled.
“So we didn’t actually get to find out the reasons why.”
Nathan Ake (Bournemouth)
Ake, who joined Chelsea’s academy at the age of 16 from Feyenoord, is regarded as one of the best central defenders outside the Premier League’s ‘Big Six’.
He has been an ever-present in Eddie Howe’s Cherries since joining in a £20million deal from Chelsea in 2017.
Ake was on loan at Bournemouth during the 2016/17 season, but was recalled by Blues boss Antonio Conte midway through to help his parent club win the Premier League title.
The Netherlands international has an eye for goal, too, scoring seven times in the past two campaigns.
Reports have claimed Chelsea want to re-sign Ake with Tottenham also believed to be keen.
Bertrand Traore (Lyon)
Chelsea signed Traore from French club Auxerre in October 2013, but he was loaned out to Vitesse less than three months later.
His 16 Chelsea appearances came in a horrendous 2015/16 campaign which saw the club finish 10th in the Premier League.
Traore was loaned to Ajax the following season before completing an £8.8million move to Lyon in 2017, where he’s done well.
Chris Mepham (Bournemouth)
Mepham joined Chelsea’s academy as a 10-year-old and spent four years in west London before being released.
He got his break at Brentford as he progressed through their academy to make 48 appearances for the club in the Championship.
The Wales international joined Bournemouth for £12million in January and has partnered Ake in defence at times.
At just 22 years old, he could be a future Premier League mainstay.
LIVE on talkSPORT
Check out all the live commentaries coming up across the talkSPORT network this week
- Chelsea vs Crystal Palace (Saturday, 12:30pm) – talkSPORT
- Nottingham Forest vs Derby (Saturday, 12:30pm) – talkSPORT 2
- Southampton vs Everton (Saturday, 3pm) – talkSPORT 2
- Leicester vs Arsenal (Saturday, 5:30pm) – talkSPORT
- Cardiff vs Bristol City (Sunday, 12pm) – talkSPORT 2
Patrick van Aanholt (Crystal Palace)
The attacking full-back made just eight first-team appearances after coming through the ranks at Chelsea.
Loan spells at Coventry, Newcastle, Leicester, Wigan and Vitesse followed, before he joined Sunderland on a permanent deal in 2014.
Despite the Black Cats’ constant fight against relegation, Van Aanholt impressed enough to earn a £9million move to Crystal Palace, which could rise to £14million.
While his defensive capabilities tend to be questioned, the Dutchman is part of a reliable Palace defence under Roy Hodgson.
Nathaniel Chalobah (Watford)
Chalobah left Fulham’s set-up to join Chelsea’s academy when he was 10 years old.
He was restricted to just one start and nine substitute appearances in the Premier League, before moving to Watford in 2017.
A good start to his Hornets career saw him called up to Gareth Southgate’s squad in September, but a serious knee injury delayed his senior debut by a year when he was an 89th-minute substitute in a 3-2 Nations League win over Spain.
Chalobah has recently regained his place in Watford’s team, starting the past three top-flight games as they face a battle against relegation.
Eddie Nketiah (Arsenal)
Nketiah spent seven years in Chelsea’s academy after he was scouted as a nine-year-old.
He was released in 2015 and joined Arsenal’s academy in the same year.
The 20-year-old is highly-rated by the Gunners’ chiefs and is impressing in a loan spell at Leeds in the Championship, scoring five goals in 12 appearances.
Dominic Solanke (Bournemouth)
Solanke’s Chelsea career started in 2004 as he first featured for their Under-8s side.
He spent 13 years in west London, but failed to make a Premier League appearance for the club. His one and only Blues appearance came as a substitute in the Champions League in October 2014.
Solanke was not offered a new deal by Chelsea and joined Liverpool in 2017.
After struggling for first-team action at Anfield, his playing time has improved since completing a £17million move to Bournemouth in January.
Rhian Brewster (Liverpool)
Brewster was scouted by Charlton, Arsenal, West Ham and Chelsea as a seven-year-old, before deciding to join the Blues.
He spent seven years in Chelsea’s academy until swapping London for Liverpool in 2014.
Serious ankle and knee injuries have stalled his development at Anfield, but he has been featuring prominently in Liverpool’s Carabao Cup run this season.
At just 19 years of age, Brewster could have a big career ahead of him.