The quality at their disposal in the academy is unparalleled and can be best explained by the simple fact that 19 out of the 128 players picked for England’s sides from Under-17s to seniors during October’s international break were developed by Chelsea at some point. No club in the country can match that; whether those kids go on to play for Chelsea or elsewhere is a matter for discussion.
Chelsea have 40 players out on loan this season – the highest number in the league. We take a look at the top 10 Chelsea loanees to keep an eye out for this season.
1) Nathan Baxter (Goalkeeper) – Yeovil Town – 19 years old
Nathan Baxter, who is currently on loan at Yeovil Town in League Two, has been associated with Chelsea since the Under-8 age group. The shot-stopper was a product of the development centre programme at the club and has already won the UEFA Youth League and the English Youth Cup at youth level.
The 19-year-old has started on a regular basis for the Glovers so far this season and is earning his corn. Baxter is progressing steadily after making the big leap into senior football and is known for his agility and ability to play the ball out with his feet, in addition to being a dependable shot-stopper.
The loan spell in League Two is expected to make him more assertive and stronger as he gets used to the rigours of men’s professional football in the country. Baxter is contracted to Chelsea until the summer of 2020 and could well be the subject of a new offer if he can continue his steady development under Darren Way at Huish Park.
2) Jake Clarke-Salter (Centre-back) – Vitesse Arnhem – 21 years old
Jake Clarke-Salter was an instrumental figure at the back when England won the U20 World Cup held in South Korea last year. The defender, who is truly home-grown in every sense considering the fact that he has been at the club since he was kid, has progressed rapidly across the various age groups at Chelsea and is also a three-time FA Youth Cup winner with the U18 side.
After a volatile loan stint with Sunderland in the Championship last season, where he was sent off in consecutive games during February and March, Clarke-Salter joined Vitesse Arnhem in the Eredivise in the summer. The 21-year-old has played on a regular basis under Leonid Slutsky so far this season and looks set to enjoy a productive spell at the GelreDome.
Some early observations suggest that Clarke-Salter is adept at reading the game and is comfortable while bringing the ball out from the back. The defender’s athletic nature and physicality comes naturally to him and having already made his senior debut for Chelsea, he looks set for a bright career.
3) Todd Kane (Right-back) – Hull City – 25 years old
Todd Kane has been quite a journeyman so far in his career and has turned out for as many as eight clubs since he travelled to Munich as a back-up substitute for Chelsea’s UEFA Champions League triumph in 2012. The Englishman, who was an influential figure alongside Nathaniel Chalobah during the Chelsea U18 side’s successful FA Youth Cup campaign in 2012, has struggled for consistency due to injuries.
However, the defender is now a regular under Nigel Adkins at Hull City and is slowly getting back to his best shape after clocking more than 1,000 minutes of playing time so far this season, while also scoring a goal. Kane is older than other academy graduates who are vying for a place in the first team and that could work against his Chelsea ambitions, but he is undoubtedly capable enough of playing professional football in the country.
The 25-year-old’s current contract at Chelsea expires next summer and with time not on his side he is likely to be desperate to impress during his loan spell.
4) Trevoh Chalobah (Centre-back) – Ipswich Town – 19 years old
Trevoh Chalobah is the younger brother of Nathaniel Chalobah, another academy graduate, who moved to Watford on a permanent deal last season. The 19-year-old has been a regular across various age groups for Chelsea and has even captained the England national team at U16 level. The defender, who joined Championship outfit Ipswich Town on loan in the summer, is enjoying regular game time with the Tractor Boys.
The Chelsea starlet was named on the bench for Antonio Conte’s last game in charge of the Blues as they beat Manchester United in the FA Cup final in May and is also capable of filling in as a midfielder whenever required. Chalobah, who has won the FA Youth Cup and the UEFA Youth League during his time in the youth ranks, is being touted as a future star and has a contract at Stamford Bridge that runs out in 2021.
5) Reece James (Right-back) – Wigan Athletic – 18 years old
Reece James, who was the recipient of the Chelsea Academy Player of the Year award for the 2017/18 season, has established himself in the Championship at Wigan Athletic this season. The defender has played in every game of the Latics’ campaign under Paul Cook so far and has taken no time to settle down in a competitive environment offered by the second division in England.
The defender captained Chelsea to their fifth consecutive FA Youth Cup triumph last season and was also a member of the England team that won the UEFA U19 European Championship last year in Georgia. James is a versatile player and has featured in a variety of roles for the U18 side including at right-back, wing-back and even as a central defender in a back-three. The 19-year-old signed his professional contract with Chelsea last year and is widely regarded as a player for the future.
6) Dujon Sterling (Right-back) – Coventry City – 18 years old
Dujon Sterling made his senior debut for the club when he came on as a substitute for Davide Zappacosta during Chelsea’s 5-1 win over Nottingham Forest in the EFL Cup last season. The full-back was a consistent performer across various age groups for Chelsea before that and is also a two-time FA Youth Cup and UEFA Youth League winner with the U18s.
The 18-year-old also featured in the Team of the Tournament for the U17 and U19 UEFA European Championships held in 2016 and 2017 respectively, while also helping the Young Lions win the U19 tournament in Georgia last year. Sterling has been handed regular playing time at League One outfit Coventry City and is set to attain more minutes under Mark Robins at the Ricoh Arena this season.
7) Kyle Scott (Central-midfield) – SC Telstar – 20 years old
Kyle Scott joined Chelsea as a 10-year-old from Southampton and went on to become a regular for the various age groups at the club. The midfielder is technically gifted and attended full pre-season with Chelsea at the beginning of the 2017/18 season before making his senior debut against Hull City in the FA Cup in February.
The 20-year-old joined Telstar after an illustrious few years with the academy sides at Chelsea and is now sampling the Dutch second tier. Scott, who was capped at youth level by all of the USA, England and the Republic of Ireland, makes up for his diminutive nature by being strong and technically gifted on the ball.
The midfielder is the final year of his current contract at Chelsea and is expected to put pen to paper on an extension when he returns from the Netherlands next summer.
8) Jacob Maddox (Right-midfield) – Cheltenham Town – 19 years old
Jacob Maddox joined Chelsea from Bristol City as a 14-year-old in 2013 and has been driving force in midfield for the academy sides over the last few years. The attacking midfielder, who is equally adept at playing through the middle or on the right-hand side, scored three times during Chelsea’s FA Youth Cup triumph during the 2014/15 season.
The 19-year-old was also an influential figure during the U18 side’s treble-winning campaign in 2016/17 and capped off a remarkable season with a triumph in the U19 UEFA European Championship last year. The season-long move to League Two outfit Cheltenham Town is his first stint away from the club and the midfielder will be keen to make an impact under Michael Duff at Whaddon Road.
Maddox is earning valuable experience at senior level in League Two and could well win himself a bigger move next season if he can keep up the good work.
9) Victorien Angban (Defensive midfield) – FC Metz – 22 years old
Victorien Angban joined Chelsea in 2015 from Ivorian club Stade d’Abidjan and has been out on loan and away from England since then. The Ivory Coast international, who was named in the squad for the African Cup of Nations in Gabon earlier this year, is a defensive midfielder who is capable of playing a box to box role as well.
The Ivorian made 11 appearances for Granada in La Liga last season and secured a season-long move to Ligue 2 side FC Metz earlier in the summer. Angban has been a star performer for Metz, who are currently leading the pack in the second-tier in France, and will want to make his mark in a promotion winning campaign.
Metz have an option to make the deal permanent next summer and they might be tempted to activate it if Angban continues his form to help them clinch promotion at the end of this season.
10) Danilo Pantic (Attacking midfield) – Partizan Belgrade – 21 years old
Danilo Pantic joined Chelsea from Partizan Belgrade in 2015 after a string of impressive performances for the club during the 2014/15 Europa League season. The midfielder is capable of playing centrally as well as on the wide left and has represented Serbia across various age groups.
The 21-year-old enjoyed loan spells in the Eredivise with Vitesse Arnhem and SBV Excelsior before moving back to Serbia with Partizan Belgrade last season on a two-year-long loan deal. The dynamic midfielder enjoyed a stellar 2017/18 campaign and helped his team win the Serbian Cup while also being named in the league’s team of the season.
Pantic has picked up from where he left off this season and has already impressed. The Serbian also has a clause in his contract that will allow Partizan Belgrade to make the move permanent in the summer and his current contract with Chelsea expires in 2021.