With Pedro, Willian and Olivier Giroud all having their contracts ending this summer, Chelsea will look towards its youngsters and academy products to lead the way forward.
Since joining the club in 2015 from Barcelona, Pedro has featured in more than 200 games for Chelsea and has won the Premier League, the FA Cup and the Europa League with them. He however played only 8 PL games before the current pause due to Covid-19 and is definitely on his way out after this season ends.
Brazilian star Willian, has been the team’s creative playmaker this season, making up for the loss of Eden Hazard in the summer and has been a constant feature on the right wing for Chelsea, but is not likely to be given an extension.
Frenchman Giroud has played an important role at Chelsea since joining from Arsenal in January 2018, helping them win the FA Cup under Antonio Conte in 2018 and then lifting the Europa League trophy under Sarri next season, being the top scorer of the competition with 11 goals. He will join Pedro and Willian in walking away this summer as a free agent.
However with Christian Pulisic, Callum-Hudson Odoi and new signing Hakim Ziyech, Chelsea have a number of talented young wingers capable of leading the first team in the coming years.
With Chelsea on a transfer ban this season, the new manager Frank Lampard had to depend on his young players to step up and live up to his expectations.
With Alvaro Morata, Gonzalo Higuain and Eden Hazard all leaving after last season, Lampard placed his trust on Tammy Abraham to lead the frontline over the experienced Olivier Giroud and Michy Batshuayi. The prolific striker was named Londons’s Premier League Player of the Year(POTY) and Young Player of the Year(YOTY) in the annual London Football Awards for his brilliant performances on the pitch for Chelsea in 2020. He has made 25 appearances for the Blues this season and scoring 13 goals.
Fikayo Tomori and Mason Mount both having played under Lampard at Derby County have been consistently performing for Chelsea this season. Tomori has looked rock-solid at the back playing alongside Kurt Zouma, Andreas Christensen and Antonio Rudiger. Mount has established himself as a Chelsea regular, playing 29 times for the Stamford Bridge side and racking up six goals in the process.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek was an important part of Sarri’s midfield and performed well in Chelsea’s Europa League games until a horrific Achilles heel injury in a friendly caused to him miss the rest of the season. The Englishman is slowly regaining his fitness and we will see him possibly return to full fitness by pre-season.
Billy Gilmour was also handed his Chelsea debut this season and performed exceptionally well against top teams like Liverpool and Everton making his mark by dominant performances which caused several pundits to heap praises on the 18-year old.
Gilmor’s performances even prompted Frank Lampard to suggest that he should have been put into the first team ages ago.
Reece James has racked up 26 appearances in all competitions for Chelsea this season and with captain Azpilicueta turning 31 soon, James is defininetly an able replacement at right-back for the Blues.
There are a number of young players like Tino Anjorin, Armando Broja, Ian Maatsen and players currently out on loan too, like Ethan Ampadu and Conor Gallagher, who are strong contenders to join the Chelsea first-team next season.
Frank Lampard’s trust in the clubs youth has finally seen many of the Chelsea Academy stars make it into the first team.