Chelsea currently sit in fourth place in the Premier League table. They have experienced a lot of ups and downs throughout the season, with manager Antonio Conte now being linked with a move away. Top players such as Eden Hazard and Thibaut Courtois have also been the subject of transfer speculation.
Over the past few years the club have become notorious for purchasing young talent and then immediately loaning them out to various clubs. They have also sold the likes of Romelu Lukaku, Kevin De Bruyne and Mohamed Salah, who are all now all plying their trade for Manchester United, Manchester City and Liverpool.
With many young, talented players both in the squad and out on loan, could this be the Chelsea team of the future?
1. Thibaut Courtois
The Belgium number 1 has established himself as one of the best goalkeepers in the business. He has flirted with the idea of a return to La Liga, where he won the title back in 2014 under the management of Diego Simeone at Atletico Madrid.
With his two children living in the Spanish capital, the Pensioners may struggle to keep hold of the Belgian, who recently stated his ‘heart is in Madrid’.
Chelsea fans will be hoping he stays and becomes the next Petr Cech, however – an act he is well capable of following.
2. Cesar Azpilicueta
Labelled as the most consistent defender in the Premier League by Jamie Carragher, “Dave” is undoubtedly world-class. He has the potential to play for any team and has leadership qualities similar to those of John Terry.
In three or four years’ time he could without doubt replace Gary Cahill as Chelsea’s next captain.
3. Ethan Ampadu
At the age of just 17, Ampadu has already been capped by the Welsh senior side and looks like he has all the attributes needed to succeed in England.
Despite struggling for game time, Ampadu can take some inspiration from the recent breakthrough of Andreas Christensen. In five years’ time, Ampadu could be one of the best players at the club.
4. Andreas Christensen
Having shown his excellent defensive capabilities in the Bundesliga, the big Dane has finally nailed down a place in the starting XI.
Having been tipped for stardom by one of the league’s greatest ever centre-backs, Terry, Christensen has managed to keep promising German defender Antonio Rudiger and Brazil international David Luiz out of the starting lineup.
Himself and Ampadu could be quite an exciting partnership in years to come.
5. Todd Kane
Having begun his career with the Chelsea under-8 side, Kane has been a life-long fan of the Pensioners.
One of many youngsters to be shipped out of west London on loan, Kane is slowly developing into a more experienced and tactically aware full-back.
Currently continuing his development at Oxford United, the recent success of Victor Moses can act as inspiration for the young Englishman.
6. N’Golo Kante
Kante is without doubt the most athletic player in England. He seems to cover more ground then the rest of the team combined at times and is often jokingly said to give away the ball just so he can go and win it back again.
Having regularly been victim to criticism in relation to his poor attacking attributes, the Frenchman has made huge strides going forward and his passing is now of a similar standard to that of Spanish counterpart Cesc Fabregas.
7. Tiemoue Bakayoko
Despite some dire displays in recent weeks, Bakayoko is still only 23 years old and has plenty of time to develop. He showed at Monaco that he has the capability of cutting it in the Champions League when he grabbed the winner against Manchester City.
At times he and Kante have been unstoppable. In the 1-0 victory over Manchester United he was truly epic. He bullied the United midfield and looked a constant threat going forward. Chelsea fans will be hoping he can continue to build his partnership with Kante and regain his confidence over the next few seasons.
8. Eden Hazard
Having been heavily linked with a move to the Bernabeu recently, the Belgian skipper remains at Stamford Bridge.
Arguably the best player to ever wear the Royal Blue, he can beat teams on his own and him staying at the Bridge is essential if the Premier League champions are to once again live up to that title.
9. Callum Hudson-Odoi
Without a doubt the most exciting youngster with the capital club at the moment. Having helped England to win the Under-17 World Cup, Hudson-Odoi looks destined for stardom. His dribbling style resembles five-time Ballon d’Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo.
His senior debut against Newcastle United in the FA Cup was an exciting performance in which he showed glimpses of what his future may hold. The Chelsea faithful will be on their hands and knees begging for the youngster to get more game time.
10. Charly Musonda
Musonda also showed his class against Newcastle in the aforementioned FA Cup tie, with his incredible assist for Victor Moses being a moment of utter pride for the former La Liga man.
With Arsenal and Manchester United both reportedly expressing an interest last year, Abramovich and his board have some thinking to do. For the rest of the season, however, Musonda will look to help Brendan Rodgers at Celtic Park. His unexpected loan move to Scotland has angered many Chelsea followers who feel the youngster could have offered quite a lot this season.
Perhaps the highly-creative style of football employed by the Scottish giants may be the ingredients needed to bring the best out of Musonda and earn him a place at the World Cup in Russia with Belgium.
11. Tammy Abraham
Having journeyed with both Hudson-Odoi and Kane through Chelsea’s world-renowned academy, Abraham was tipped to become a future Chelsea star. A phenomenal loan spell at Bristol City has seen the frontman earn a regular starting place at Swansea City under the management of Carlos Carvalhal.
With Alvaro Morata going through a rough patch and Olivier Giroud yet to be given a real chance at the club, many believe young Abraham could have played a bigger part in Chelsea’s title defence. Don’t be surprised to see him play next season.
If all these players choose to commit their long-term futures to the London club, this could be the Blues’ future starting XI.
However, given Chelsea’s reputation for selling young talent, perhaps none of the above players will playing at Fulham Road in three years’ time.