Over the past few seasons, Chelsea has become infamous for stockpiling talent. The Blues send more players out on loan than any other Premier League club. However, that strategy is slowly beginning to change.
While the West London club still loans an extraordinary number of players out to their affiliates across Europe (12 this summer alone), they have also started to adopt the continental model of allowing young players to leave on a permanent transfer and inserting a buy-back clause into the deal as insurance.
Clubs such as Barcelona has been making use of this practice for years and the model has slowly crept into the English game with Manchester United inserting buy-back clauses into transfers over recent years also.
The transfer model is very clever as it provides the selling club with immediate transfer funds from the sale of their young prospect while also giving them first-option to buy the player back should the player fulfill their potential.
Chelsea currently boasts an excellent squad, however, they may consider bringing one or all of the following young players back to Stamford Bridge should the need arise.
Below, we look at three former Chelsea players who all have buy-back clauses inserted into their transfer agreements when they moved from Stamford Bridge.
Note: All contract data, transfer fees, and clauses are courtesy of Transfermarkt.com.
#3 Nathan Ake
Nathan Ake arrived at Chelsea as a youth for a nominal fee from Feyenoord in 2011. A very high-rated defender, Ake spent just one season with the Chelsea under-18 team before linking up with the first team in 2012.
He made his Premier League debut for the Blues in December of that year at the age of 17 and played the odd cameo role for the club throughout the rest of the 2012/13 Premier League season. At the end of the season, he was voted as Chelsea's Young Player of the Year.
However, he failed to establish himself in the Chelsea first team and became a member of the yearly loan exodus from Stamford Bridge. In 2015, he was loaned to Reading for a month before moving to Watford for the 2015/16 season.
Following that, he was sent down south to Bournemouth on loan for the 2016/17 season and the first half of the next campaign. The Dutch defender was recalled by Chelsea after a year and a half on loan at the Cherries and played a handful of games for the Blues throughout the remainder of the season.
The young center-back's performances on the south coast had impressed Bournemouth manager, Eddie Howe, and in July of 2017, the Cherries bought Ake for €22.8 million. However, Chelsea inserted a buy-back clause into the transfer deal, allowing the Blues to bring Ake back to Stamford Bridge for an undisclosed, pre-arranged fee.
With an aging Gary Cahill and David Luiz, perhaps Maurizio Sarri will activate the clause sooner rather than later.