The Blues’ management have a reputation of underestimating talented young players.
Over the years, Chelsea FC have produced and acquired several young and talented players. The West Londoners can boast of having one of the best academies and scouts in the world. However, before Frank Lampard’s arrival, they rarely the youngsters to play in the first team or were a bit impatient with them.
They mostly went for superstars looking for instant success and hence a lot of young and talented players were sold. Some of those players turned out to be world-class with several accolades.
While the Chelsea fans are still in regret of those decisions taken by the management, here are those ‘what if’ instances in this list of players whom Chelsea sold too soon.
Brazil’s forgotten midfield maestro who made his name at Chelsea since joining the club in 2012 from Internacional. A crafty midfielder, Oscar was touted as the next big thing in Brazil and proved his mettle in the Premier League with consistent performances as a no.10 for the Blues.
Oscar won two Premier League titles with Chelsea and also bagged the Europa League with some outstanding performances. He was a fan-favourite at the club as he featured in 203 matches scoring 38 goals and assisting another 37.
Antonio Conte’s arrival at Stamford Bridge marked the end of his career at Chelsea as he joined Chinese Super League outfit Shanghai SIPG in a big-money deal in January 2017. A career that could have reached different heights went down the wrong way. Oscar, who was a starter for the Selecaos lost his place after his move to China. Considering he is still only 28, he can make a move back to Europe.
Another player who was underestimated by the Chelsea management despite his performances during multiple loan stints is none other than Romelu Lukaku. Romelu Lukaku joined the Blues in 2011 and the Belgian spent three years at Chelsea and only featured 10 times for the club.
Most of the three years he spent were spent on loan at Everton and West Bromwich Albion. He started making his mark in the Premier League during his time at Merseyside. His goalscoring prowess resulted with the Toffees attracting worldwide interest and soon Lukaku was sold to Machester United in 2017.
At Old Trafford, the Belgian forward reached his true potential as one of the best strikers in the world. He made 96 appearances for the Red Devils scoring 42 goals before joining Inter Milan in 2019.
Even in Serie A, a league which is more tactically astute, Lukaku has found the back of the net 17 times in 25 appearances. Simply a goalscoring sensation, his numbers clearly prove that Chelsea were in haste to decide his future.
One of the greatest footballers from this generation, Arjen Robben made his name during his stints at Real Madrid and notably Bayern Munich. However, his time at Chelsea was one to forget.
Although in three years he helped the Blues to win two Premier League titles, he felt there was lack of support from then-manager Jose Mourinho during his time at the Bridge. Further, his time at Real Madrid was also nothing great as he won the La Liga and the Spanish Super Cup titles with the Los Blancos before moving to Bayern Munich.
At Bavaria, he became a household name and one of the best footballers of this generation. With eight Bundesliga titles, a Champions League where he scored the solitary goal in the final and five DfB Pokals, Robben became the undisputed legend for Die Roten. He hung up his boots at Bayern in July last year.
Chelsea fans may wonder how much they would have benefited if they hadn’t sold the Dutch wizard.
Kevin De Bruyne
Arguably the best midfielder in the world at the moment, Kevin De Bruyne joined Chelsea FC in January 2012 on deadline day, signing a long-term contract with the club. He spent a year on loan at Werder Bremen as Jose Mourinho arrived at Chelsea, De Bruyne was promised a spot in the team. However, things only turned sour from there and the Belgium international was sold to Wolfsburg in 2014.
He showed his class in Bundesliga by pulling the strings for Wolfsburg. He recorded 10 goals and 19 assists in the 2014-15 Bundesliga season, helping Wolfsburg to a runners-up finish and qualifying for the UEFA Champions League.
His consistent performances in Bundesliga impressed Manchester City and brought the attacking midfielder to Etihad in 2015. Since then Kevin De Bruyne has been one of the best midfielders in the world. Despite shifting to a deeper role in midfield at City, the 28-year-old midfielder has been a metronome for Cityzens. De Bruyne has made 206 appearances for City, scoring 50 goals along with whopping 85 assists.
Looking at his statistics currently, Chelsea management might think that they were wrong in letting the Belgian midfielder leave without even allowing him a chance to prove his mettle.
This list is incomplete without the Egyptian pharaoh, Mohamed Salah. The then youngster joined Chelsea FC in January 2014 and spent two years with the club making only 13 appearances.
He was sent out on loan at Fiorentina where he had a decent run and it forced AS Roma to jump in for the Egyptian winger in 2015. At Roma, he realized his true potential as a player.
His consistent performances for Roma where he portrayed his goalscoring prowess attracted Liverpool’s interest. He came back to the Premier League by signing for Liverpool FC in 2017 and since then, he hasn’t looked back. The Egyptian winger has inspired Liverpool in winning the UEFA Champions League in 2019.
Salah, alongside Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane, has formed one of the most lethal attacking trios in world football and they are on course to win the much-awaited Premier League title for Liverpool.
If given the chance of changing something from the past, a lot of Chelsea fans would love to keep Mohamed Salah at the Stamford Bridge such has been the enigma of the Egyptian. Ironically, Salah, De Bruyne, Lukaku and Robben were the players who left the club when Jose Mourinho was in charge!