In recent years Chelsea have looked towards expensive, ready-made replacements for players who leave the club. However, with the financial fair play restrictions coming into play, teams are having to look to their youth systems to replace first team players. Which Chelsea youths are looking most likely to replace their ageing squad?
Josh McEachran (On Loan at Middlesbrough)
An English Under-21 centre midfielder, McEachran has shown his class in a handful of first team games already at Stamford Bridge. Featuring in 29 games already for the Blues, he has shown class that has got comparisons with Frank Lampard amongst the Chelsea fans. So far, his loan spell at Middlesbrough has proved to be successful being a regular in the squad. Chelsea fans have a quality player on their books, and the 20-year old is only going to get better
Nathaniel Chalobah (On Loan at Watford)
Another English midfielder but can ply his trade at centre back has earned plaudits amongst critics. Not yet to feature in Chelsea's first team for a competitive game but playing regularly in Gianfranco Zola's Watford team and performing to a very high standard. The 18 year old stands at 6 foot 2 inches tall and is a strong tackler as well as a playmaker. His quality performances has prompted Zola to predict that Chalobah will replace the leaving Frank Lampard. Another fantastic talent that will be able to make the step up if needed.
A centre back who can also play in defensive midfield has drawn comparisons with David Luiz, not only for his playing style but his long locks too. Being used as a substitute on a couple of occasions this season and getting a start as well, Ake has shown that he has the quality to play in Chelsea's squad. He is certainly someone to look out for.
Romelu Lukaku (On Loan at West Brom)
The new Didier Drogba has been on fire for West Brom this season, scoring 13 goals. The strong striker has shown Chelsea what he is able to do and will more than likely challenge Fernando Torres and Demba Ba for a first team spot next season, and on current form, I can't see either of them standing in Lukaku’s way.
Lucas Piazon (On Loan at Malaga)
Huge things expected of this speedy winger. With a few appearances at Chelsea to his name already, the fans have his name on their lips already. The Brazilian has only made a handful of starts for Malaga but has played very well in each of them and is getting comparisons with Real Madrid player Kaka (back in his quality days)
Thibaut Courtios (On Loan at Atletico Madrid)
Already one of the best goalkeepers in the world, the 19-year-old Belgian stopper has set La Liga on fire. Keeping over 40 clean sheets in 85 games shows how good this goalkeeper is. The only problem that Courtios faces is the unbelievable form of Petr Cech. However, at the age of 30, Cech won't be a first choice goalkeeper for much longer. Courtios is likely to be the world's best goalkeeper in just a few years.
Chelsea have other fantastic young players who will be looking to break into the first team soon - George Saville, Jeffery Bruma, Patrick Van Aanholt, Ulises Davila, Patrick Bamford, Sam Hutchinson
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