5 Future Stars to Look Out for in Chelsea's Academy
Chelsea have a reputation for neglecting their youth talent, with only John Terry breaking through as a first-team regular in recent years. However, with the new focus on Financial Fair Play compliance and Jose Mourinho's desire to build a new, young team of legends, there could be more opportunities for the club's youngsters.
Click through to see the five players most likely to make it to the first-team squad, and if you'd like more information on Chelsea's development squads, you can visit the new-look website here.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek has been with Chelsea since under-8 level and has played for England at under-16, under-17 and under-19 levels.
A box-to-box midfielder, Loftus-Cheek captained Chelsea to FA Youth Cup glory in 2013-14 and made 21 appearances in the Under-21 Premier League.
Having played on last summer’s post-season trip to the USA before picking up an injury, Loftus-Cheek is expected to join the first team on their pre-season tour this summer.
Massimo Marioni at the Metro reported in May that Jose Mourinho has been keeping tabs on the striker and that a meeting will take place this summer to assess his short-term future.
If Romelu Lukaku is sold, Bamford could join the first team as a third striker option for 2014-15.
Kenneth Omeruo will return to Cobham this summer after performing admirably for Nigeria at the World Cup.
He played in every game and performed better than fellow Chelsea men John Obi Mikel and Victor Moses before the Super Eagles were beaten by France.
Having spent the second half of last season on loan at Middlesbrough, Omeruo could find himself included in the first-team rotation for 2014-15, much the same as Tomas Kalas was last season.
Lewis Baker was voted Chelsea’s Young Player of the Year for 2013-14 and also picked up the Goal of the Season award. He made his senior debut against Derby County in the FA Cup and may well feature in the competition again in 2014-15.
Baker is probably the closest player to a long-term replacement for Frank Lampard that Chelsea currently have available. A goalscoring midfielder who is able to step up and take penalties should not be underestimated.
Dominic Solanke is a native of Reading in Berkshire, but he has been at the Chelsea academy since he was eight years old. A prolific striker, Solanke scored 20 goals for the U18s in 2013-14 and has been equally impressive for England.
If he maintains his current form, there is no reason why the 16-year-old should not be playing at Stamford Bridge sooner rather than later.