7 players sold by Chelsea who currently play for their Premier League rivals

Romelu Lukaku
Lukaku snubbed a return to Chelsea to join Manchester United this summer
Naveen Ravi Joseph

A lot has been said about the number of players who go out on loan from Chelsea every season and year after year the emphasis is always on these players not getting their chances with Chelsea’s first team.

I believe, Chelsea have done well to guarantee some playing time for their best young players they sign by sending them on loans and kudos to their scouting team because they’ve unearthed a lot of gems over the years.

Their loan system has ensured the continued growth of many youngsters and Thibaut Courtois has even gone on to become a first-team player.

But the fact remains that very few players get the chance to play for Chelsea. In fact, five out of the seven players on this list have had a spell away on loan when they were a Chelsea player but none of them cemented their place in the first team.

However, these five players and two other ex-Chelsea players were good enough to play for Chelsea’s Premier League rivals Arsenal, Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool and Spurs.

#1 Romelu Lukaku - Manchester United

Romelu Lukaku signed for Chelsea in 2011 as a promising teenager who was in love with the club and idolised Didier Drogba. However, his debut season with the Blues didn’t turn out to be the best due to managerial changes which limited his playing time severely.

Lukaku spent two seasons on loan away from Chelsea in the Premier League. His first was with West Brom where he scored 17 goals including a hat-trick against Manchester United in Sir Alex Ferguson’s last game in charge of the club.

After his loan spell with West Brom, he spent three seasons at Everton of which one was on a loan basis and in those three seasons, Lukaku scored 71 goals in just 133 games. During his last season with Everton, he scored 25 league goals which was the second-highest in the league behind Harry Kane.

It is beyond me why Chelsea never inserted a buy-back clause when they sold Lukaku to Everton, but the Belgian was a well-known target for Chelsea before his move to Man Utd.

#2 Dominic Solanke - Liverpool

Dominic Solanke
Solanke won the Golden Ball at the U-20 FIFA World Cup 2017

Chelsea didn’t sell promising youngster Dominic Solanke to Liverpool as the youngster chose not to renew his contract with the London club and joined the Reds upon the expiration of his contract.

Solanke was a crucial member of the England team that won the U-20 World Cup this summer. In fact, he was awarded the Golden Ball for the tournament for the best player of the event. By winning the award, Solanke follows in the footsteps of players like Lionel Messi, Diego Maradona, Sergio Agüero, Paul Pogba, Seydou Keita and Javier Saviola.

There is no doubt that Chelsea have lost out on one of their biggest assets although it remained to be seen if he would ever make the first team. Solanke is a winner of numerous team and individual honours at the youth levels and Liverpool have made a big coup by signing the teenager upon the expiration of his contract.

When Solanke was 17, he spent a season on loan at Vitesse scoring 7 goals which made him the club’s third-highest goalscorer with the highest scorer notching up just 10 goals.

#3 Petr Cech - Arsenal

Petr Cech
Cech spent 11 years with Chelsea before moving to Arsenal

Petr Cech was an integral part of the Roman revolution at Chelsea. The veteran goalkeeper spent 11 seasons with Chelsea winning 15 team honours including the Premier League and the UEFA Champions League.

In the summer of 2015, Chelsea willingly let Cech join Premier League and London rivals Arsenal for around £10m. Cech had a few words to share about his move to Arsenal.

“Last summer, things changed and I understood I was no longer the first-choice keeper, but I felt it was not the right time for me to go. During the season it became clear that my situation would not improve and, as I know I am not at the stage of my career where I want to be on the bench, I made my decision to move on and look for new challenges.”

Cech lost his place in the Chelsea lineup to Thibaut Courtois and that played a big role in his decision to leave the Blues. After leaving Chelsea, he has won the Community Shield and the FA Cup once each with the Gunners.

The former Czech Republic international holds the record for the most number of cleansheets in Premier League history and also shares the record for most number of Golden Glove awards with Joe Hart.

#4 Daniel Sturridge - Liverpool

Daniel Sturridge
Sturridge was named in the PFA Team of the Year in his first full season with Liverpool

Despite Daniel Sturridge’s well-documented injury problems, it was baffling why Chelsea let go of one of the most promising English strikers back in 2013.

Sturridge left Chelsea during a time when the Blues’ strike force was led by a struggling Fernando Torres and despite the struggle Chelsea faced with Torres, Sturridge remained on the periphery of the first team for most of his time with them and eventually moved to Liverpool in January 2013 for just £12m in search of regular playing time.

The Englishman’s first season and a half with Liverpool was just marvellous. He scored for Liverpool more often than not and by the end of the 2013/14 season, he had already scored 35 goals in 49 games for the Reds.

His partnership with Luis Suarez was one of the best in Premier League history and he was voted into the Premier League team of the Year for 2013/14 season owing to his 21 goals and seven assists in 26 starts and three substitute appearances.

Sturridge has struggled for both fitness and game time in the last three seasons but he remains one of the most lethal strikers in Premier League when fit.

#5 Juan Mata - Manchester United

Juan Mata
Mata was named Chelsea’s Player of the Year twice in a row before his departure

How often do you see a player being named a club’s Player of the Year twice in a row before being forced out of the team in the very next season? Well, that’s what happened with Juan Mata.

Mata was named Chelsea’s player of the year in 2011-12 and 2012-13 during which the club won the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League respectively. However, when Jose Mourinho was named as the manager before the 2013-14 season, Mata suddenly found himself surplus to requirements.

The Spaniard stayed with Chelsea for half a season under Mourinho before moving to Manchester United.

Mata has been with Man Utd since January 2014 and has won the FA Cup, Europa League and League Cup with the club. Funnily, at Manchester United, he has survived one full season under Mourinho - the same manager who sold him at Chelsea.

Although Mata has been with United for more than three seasons now, he has never found the same form that made him Chelsea’s player of the year consecutively.

#6 Mohamed Salah - Liverpool

Mohamed Salah
Salah became Liverpool’s record signing when he returned to the Premier League

Mohamed Salah was Liverpool’s second acquisition of this summer and also the second ex-Chelsea player to join the Reds. Salah’s move to Liverpool made him the club’s most expensive signing and also the most expensive African player of all time. However, he should have been a Liverpool player three years ago.

Liverpool were keen on signing Salah in January 2014 but were not able to agree on a fee with his former club FC Basel. Chelsea swooped in during this time and signed the Egyptian from under Liverpool’s nose.

Salah’s time with Chelsea was not memorable as he started just six Premier League games in the space of a year. He had two separate loan spells in Italy with Fiorentina and Roma before eventually signing for the latter permanently in 2016.

The Egyptian winger was one of the eight players in Europe’s Top 5 leagues to have both 10 plus assists and 10 plus goals in the league in 2016-17 and this is a huge testament to his abilities. It remains to be seen if he can replicate the same form in the Premier League.

#7 Kevin de Bruyne - Manchester City

Kevin de Bruyne
De Bruyne was named the Bundesliga Player of the Year after he left Chelsea

By now, you have read about some top talents to have left Chelsea in recent years but none of them matches up to Kevin de Bruyne.

De Bruyne was signed by Chelsea in 2012 but only made nine appearances for the club overall. He was sent on loan to Werder Bremen for the 2012/13 season during which he impressed several managers including Jurgen Klopp.

Klopp considered De Bruyne to be the ideal player to replace Mario Gotze at Borussia Dortmund in 2013, but Jose Mourinho convinced the Belgian that he would get his chances at Chelsea. However, he was never a key player for the Blues and left for Wolfsburg in January 2014 on a permanent deal.

De Bruyne’s only full season with Wolfsburg earned him the Bundesliga Player of the Year award for 2014/15 as he racked up 10 goals and 20 assists. His brilliant show in Bundesliga made it difficult for Wolfsburg to hold on to the player for long and eventually he signed for Manchester City in a £55m deal.

The Belgian has been an important figure for Manchester City since his arrival and has continued to develop brilliantly as a player. There is no doubt that De Bruyne was the biggest talent to have slipped through Chelsea’s hands and that’s saying a lot after reading the other names on this list.

Edited by Staff Editor


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