Breaking free: Players who soared after exiting Chelsea

Chelsea was, at one time, one of the best teams to play at in the Premier League. Many fans would argue that they were the best in the world at one point.

From the 1995/96 season and on, Chelsea has been a top competitor, taking home the Premier League title five times, only having fewer first-place finishes than Manchester City and Manchester United.

Recently, in both the 2022/2023 and the current season, Chelsea has been struggling to perform. They finished in 12th place last year – their lowest placement in nearly two decades. This season, they’re struggling to stay in the top 10.

Fans seem to agree that the biggest reason they are currently underperforming is because of management. In July 2023, Mauricio Pochettino became the team manager. Very soon after this change took place, problems started to arise with the team’s results.

Pochettino spent a staggering £450 million on new players. Yet, despite the massive amount spent on gathering talent for the club, it has seemed to only exacerbate their issues, rather than fix anything.

When we compare the team’s current roster to what it looked like in the past, we see multiple players who left Chelsea and ended up in a much better spot because of it.

Here is a look at some big names who played for Chelsea, truly made their name elsewhere.

Thorgan Hazard

Hazard joined Chelsea’s U21 team back in 2012, only playing in a single game before being sent on loan to Zulte Waregem. He then spent a season at Borussia Monchengladbach, before the move was made permanent in 2015.

He has since become an impressive player, scoring 43 goals so far in his Bundesliga career. The versatile winger now plies his trade in his native country with Anderlecht.

Kevin De Bruyne

Kevin De Bruyne played two games in the Premier League for the Blues in the 2011-2012 season before going on loan and then ultimately being sold to Wolfsburg for £16.7 million.

After the switch, he continued to improve at an impressive rate. Manchester City took notice and signed with the player for £55 million in 2015.

Today, De Bruyne is one of Manchester City’s most important players, and possibly one of the best midfielders in the world. He’s won five Premier League trophies with City and has been instrumental in transforming the club into what it is today.

Romelu Lukaku

Romelu Lukaku played 10 games for Chelsea as a striker starting in 2011 after signing with the club for £17 million.

Three years later in 2014, Lukaku moved to Everton, becoming a prolific striker. He has since rejoined and left Chelsea numerous times, with the team seemingly unable to hold on to him for very long.

Currently, he plays for AS Roma, with a transfer back to Chelsea scheduled for next season.

Mohamed Salah

Mohamed Salah played only a single season for Chelsea in the 2013/2014 season. His play at the time was rather unremarkable. While not making any major mistakes, he also did not necessarily stand out at the time as one of the top talents.

There was no way to know that he would move on to be one of the most valuable players in the League.

After his season at Chelsea, he played for Fiorentina and then AS Roma, before signing with Liverpool in 2017 for £36.5 million. At the time of writing, he has netted an impressive 151 goals so far in the Premier League for the Reds.

Mo Salah has been an important part of Liverpool’s performance this season and is a player that Chelsea could desperately use at the moment.

How will Chelsea perform in the future?

Missing out on these players has certainly been an unfortunate mishap for Chelsea. Many fans are hopeful that they can turn their act around and return to their former glory as one of the top teams in the league.

Pochettino’s contract as manager will last until at least July of 2025, with the option to extend one year past that.

It is obvious that Pochettino needs to make some changes to how things are currently running. Hopefully, those changes do not involve unknowingly letting go of any star players in the future.

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