3 Manchester United academy stars who went on to play for Chelsea

Huddersfield Town v Chelsea - Premier League
Huddersfield Town v Chelsea - Premier League

On May 12, 2020, news broke of Chelsea's interest in Manchester United academy graduate Angel Gomes. The report stated that the young Englishman is dissatisfied at the lack of opportunities under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and was considering leaving on a free transfer.

Chelsea, then, were said to be confident of securing a deal for the youngster given that his agent, Pini Zahavi, has close links with the club.

Social media went into mini-frenzy regarding the same, as the Red Devils faithful flocked to provide their opinions on the supposed deal. Some were furious while some thought of Gomes's impending departure as good riddance, stating that the player hasn't proved himself yet for the club.

Chelsea fans, meanwhile, were excited at the prospect of signing a talented youngster who had captained the England U-17 side to glory just three years earlier. Additionally, the idea of snatching a promising player from their rivals only enhanced that feeling.

It remains to be seen whether Chelsea's interest in Gomes is real or whether it is a ploy by the player's representatives to force Manchester United into presenting an improved offer. However, should Gomes leave the red half of Manchester for the blue part of London, he would be joining an exclusive list of players.

We take a look at the three players who have followed the same path before and how they have fared.

Fun fact: All three players on the list have a Premier League winners medal!

#1 Mark Hughes (Manchester United 1978-86 & 88-95; Chelsea 1995-98)

Mark Hughes moved to Chelsea after a successful stint with Manchester United
Mark Hughes moved to Chelsea after a successful stint with Manchester United

While he may not have had much luck as a manager, Mark Hughes enjoyed a fairly successful career representing the likes of Manchester United, Chelsea, Barcelona, and even Bayern Munich. The Welshman won the Premier League twice, the FA Cup four times, and was named Player of the Year by both Chelsea and United during his stellar career.

Hughes joined the Manchester United academy as a youngster in 1978 and made his first-team debut during the 1983-84 season. He netted five times across 17 appearances during his first full season at the club. He won his place in the starting eleven for the subsequent campaigns. He scored 24 times in the 1984-85 season and 18 times in the 85-86 season before being sold to Barcelona for £2 million.

In May 1988, Hughes returned to Old Trafford for a then club-record fee, after short stints with Barcelona and Bayern Munich. He stayed there for seven seasons, scoring a whopping 116 goals while winning two Premier League titles. He left United for the second and final time in 1995 when Chelsea paid the Red Devils a million for his services.

At Chelsea, the Welshman formed an impressive partnership with Italian Gianfranco Zola and played a key role in their resurgence in the late 90s. Hughes won the FA Cup with the Blues in 1997, and the League Cup in 1998. He capped off a successful stint by lifting the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup the same year.

#2 Mark Bosnich (Manchester United 1989-91 & 99-01; Chelsea 2001-02)

Mark Bosnich (far right) with his Chelsea teammates
Mark Bosnich (far right) with his Chelsea teammates

One can describe Mark Bosnich's career as intriguing. The Australian goalkeeper hasn't gone down into the history books as one of the finest players to play in the league. But at the same time, he has represented both Manchester United and Chelsea, and also has a Premier League winners medal to his name!

Bosnich spent a year in the Manchester United academy when he joined them on a non-contractual basis in 1989. He remained at the club till 1991, during which time he made three first-team appearances. The custodian then joined Aston Villa in the winter of 1992 following a short stint in Australia, where he played a bit-part role in his seven seasons at the club.

He even courted controversy on occasions, most notably when he was fined and censured by the FA for a Nazi salute against Tottenham Hotspur.

Manchester United brought Bosnich back to Old Trafford in 1999 as a replacement for the outgoing Peter Schmeichel. He was the club's first-choice keeper for the 99-00 season, making 23 appearances and picking up a Premier League winners medal in the process.

However, the arrival of Fabian Barthez in 2000 saw the Australian lose his spot in the team and he departed the club in 2001 for Chelsea.

Sir Alex Ferguson slated Bosnich as a 'terrible professional' in his autobiography in 2013 while his stint at Chelsea did not do him any favours either. Within a year-and-a-half of signing for the club, during which time he made just five appearances, Bosnich was sacked by Chelsea.

The goalkeeper had failed a drugs test in 2002 and was banned from football for nine months. He only returned to play professionally in 2008.

#3 Danny Drinkwater (Manchester United 1999-2012; Chelsea 2017- )

Danny Drinkwater joined Chelsea in 2017 from Leicester City
Danny Drinkwater joined Chelsea in 2017 from Leicester City

Unlike Mark Hughes and Mark Bosnich, Danny Drinkwater did not make any senior first-team appearances during his time with Manchester United. Instead, the youngster was loaned out four times from 2009 till 2012 to Huddersfield Town, Cardiff City, Watford, and Barnet.

Drinkwater spent several years in the Manchester United academy after joining them as a nine-year-old boy. However, realizing that his chances of breaking into the first-team are slim, the midfielder joined the then Championship side Leicester City in January 2012. He played a key role in the subsequent seasons for the Foxes as they reached the Premier League after a 10-year absence.

The ex-Manchester United academy star's crowning moment came in the Premier League in the 2015/16 season, when he helped the Foxes to an unprecedented title win. The midfielder was a key member of the team as he formed an impressive double pivot with Frenchman N'Golo Kante.

Chelsea came calling for Drinkwater's services in 2017, who by this time had become a member of the England National Team. Nevertheless, he failed to make his mark at Stamford Bridge in the years since and has only 12 appearances to his name till date.

He spent the first half of the 2019/20 season on loan at Burnley and was later loaned to Aston Villa, where he remains still. The Englishman is considered among the worst signings made by the club during the tenure of Roman Abramovich but remains under contract at Stamford Bridge until 2022.

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Edited by Zaid Khan
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