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Youth Watch - Chelsea FC
Chelsea FC has stocked up on youth in recent years, with many of the players now reaching the age where they either make it on to the Chelsea squad or leave the team. The past hasn't proven to be bright for Chelsea youth players, but could their be a change of fortune? Let's find out.
Sell - Marko Marin
Age/Position: 25/Left Midfield
Current Status: On Loan at Sevilla
Market Value: About 4M pounds (7M USD)
Marin looked destined for great things when he arrived at Chelsea in 2012, but now 25 and having failed to compete for a spot in the first team, Marin looks certain to be leaving the club over the summer. Injuries to the hip, groin and hamstring have hindered his progress, and he looks like a shell of the player he was at Werder Bremen. He's only played in 15 games this season for Sevilla, unacceptable for a player that needs to break into the squad immediately. If Marin was a few years younger Chelsea could afford to wait on him, but he's a full grown player now, and it's time for him to leave the club.
Sell - Billy Clifford
Age/Position: Central Midfielder/ 21
Current Status: On Loan at Royal Atwerp
Market Value: 125K pounds (200K USD)
I personally have no idea why Clifford is still at the club. He had a strong spell at Colchester last season, but failed to break into the Yeovil squad this season and is currently at 2nd tier side Royal Antwerp in Belguim. Since joining Antwerp in January, he's made just 2 appearances, being substituted in both times and playing a total of 50 minutes. He hasn't proven himself at the top level and his performance at the Championship level was inexcusable. Expect him to leave Chelsea soon.
Other Youth Players to Sell
Gaël Kakuta - Kakuta had a chance to prove that he deserved a spot at the club when he was loaned out to Lazio in January, but has only made a single appearance and now looks like he's on his way out of the club.
Ulises Dávila - The 23 year old Spaniard has been on loan in the second division in Spain, a place where he was expected to tear up, but has failed to be the star he was supposed to be. He's bounced between a starter and a substitute at Cordoba, giving him no spot at a club like Chelsea. At 23, it looks like he's blown his chance.
Matej Delac - With the goalkeeping talent we have, there's simply no reason to keep him.
Loan - Kurt Zouma
Age/Position: 19 / Center Back
Current Status: On Loan at AS St. Etienne
Market Value: About 8M pounds (14 USD)
Zouma could probably jump into the Chelsea squad as an substitute, but it would be a mistake to stunt his growth by giving him this role. Zouma has progressed admirably this season, but isn't quite ready for the level of football that Chelsea offers. Similarly, Zouma may need to work on cutting out rash tackles after being handed a 10 match ban for a tackle that left Sochaux's Thomas Guerbert with a fractured tibia and fibula in his right leg (It was a rash tackle but it was a bit of a harsh punishment). Give Zouma a year and let him thrive in elsewhere before making him a first-team player.
Loan - Patrick van Aanholt
Age/Position: 23/Left Back
Current Status: On Loan at Vitesse
Market Value: About 4M pounds (6M USD)
At age 23, this is a tough decision but it seems to be the best one for van Aanholt. He's had a very strong campaign this season and won his first international cap for the Netherlands in November. Despite the fact that he's growing out of the youth player category, van Aanholt is appearing to be a bit of a late bloomer, and waiting on him could be for the better. After stalling for a bit, don't be surprised to see van Aanholt still at the club next season, or even on a call up for the Netherlands.
Other Youth Players to Loan
Nathaniel Chalobah - Chalobah has the makings of a future star, but he needs to get more first team time at a higher level before jumping into the Chelsea squad.
Patrick Bamford - Like Chalobah, Bamford needs more time at a higher level.
Christian Atsu - Needs more first team experience.
Todd Kane, George Saville, Cristian Cuevas, Stipe Perica - Simply not ready yet.
Summer Decision - Ryan Bertrand
Age/Position: 24 / Left-Back, Left Winger
Current Status: On Loan at Aston Villa
Market Value: About 6M pounds (10M USD)
It's been a tough fall for Bertrand, making his first Chelsea appearance in the Champions League Final and winning stellar marks and actually had a quite strong season in Chelsea's 12-13 campaign, making 38 appearances for the Blues. Under Jose Mourinho, Bertrand was loaned out to Aston Villa in January and has barely made an impact at the club, let alone secure a future at Chelsea. There is some hope for the Englishman however, with Ashley Cole's future uncertain at the club, Bertrand could have a shot at filling that role. Bertrand has the skill to be a Premier League player, but it doesn't seem like he's at the level to be a Chelsea player. It will be a tough call for Mourinho when the summer comes, and how he preforms in pre-season friendlies could make or break his career at Chelsea.
Summer Decision - Oriol Romeu
Age/Position: 22 / Defensive Midfield
Current Status: On Loan at Valencia
Market Value: About 6M pounds (10M pounds)
Romeu was making great strides before a knee injury essentially ended his season last year for Chelsea. He was loaned out to Valencia for the 13/14 season, but hasn't made a large impact at the club. After fighting his way into the squad, Romeu started to become a regular starter in mid-December, but a new knee injury suffered in training in early Febuary set him back a few steps. If Romeu can't shake off the frequent injuries, it will be without a doubt an end to his career at Chelsea. He'll likely be at the club at the start of next season, but whether he's a fringe player or competing for a first team spot depends on how strong his pre-season is.
Other Summer Decisions
Victor Moses - A solid player, it's just about getting playing time and whether or not he fits into the Chelsea squad. It would be surprising to see him in Chelsea colors next season.
Milan Lalkovič - Lalkovič looked like he was on the way out but he's had a strong enough season at Walsall to warrant holding on to him for another one. He'll probably stay with the club and be loaned out to a Championship club where it will be make or break for the U21 Slovenian International.
Josh McEachran - Flashback a few seasons and McEachran looked like the next big thing for England. He started to break into the first team during the 10-11 season, but hasn't been able to make a challenge for a first team spot since. After a poor spell at Wigan this season, his future at Chelsea is in question.
Thibaut Courtois - Chelsea have arguably the two best goalkeepers in the world with Cech and Courtois. Courois however, is getting restless, but Chelsea won't force Cech out until his talents are gone. Another loan is likely the answer.
Bertrand Traoré, Wallace - Traoré and Wallace could be a underdog contender for a substitute role next season.
First-Team Ready - Thorgan Hazard
Age/Position: 21/Attacking Midfielder, Winger
Current Status: On Loan at Zulte Waregem
Market Value: About 10M pounds (17M USD)
Overshadowed by his older brother Eden, Thorgan Hazard has been tearing up the Belgian league with Zulte Waregem, winning the league's best player award in January 2014. His performances has made him a dark horse for the Belgian World Cup Squad, making his senior team debut in a 4-2 victory over the United States. He's exceeded expectations in the Europa League this season, finding the net vs Maribor and Wigan. He's publicly stated his desire to jump into the squad, and there's no reason why he doesn't deserve the chance. Arguably one of the most underrated players in the world right now.
First-Team Ready - Romelu Lukaku
Age/Position: 20 / Striker
Current Status: On Loan at Everton
Market Value: About 22M pounds (37M USD)
Lukaku has been at the center of attention recently, netting double digits for Everton while rumors about the Belgian leaving the club over the summer swirl. Lukaku's agents said that he's in talks with several English clubs, most notably Tottenham about moving the young striker away from Stamford Bridge. If Chelsea needs to hang on to one player, it's this man. Lukaku has score more goals this season in the EPL than Samuel Eto'o and Fernando Torres combined. He's a starter in the Belgian National Team and averages a goal every two games in the EPL for the Toffees. He's clearly a star in the making, and there's no reason why Chelsea shouldn't keep him.
Other First-Team Ready Players
Lucas Piazón - Piazon is a future star, and looking at Chelsea's alternatives it would be a good decision to give Piazon a run for his money.