Chelsea: Top five future stars
Romelu Lukaku, Thibaut Courtois & Kevin de Bruyne all have bright futures ahead of them at Stamford Bridge
The spending spree of last summer provided Chelsea with top-class talent for their fans and outsiders to feast upon.
Eden Hazard has, at times, shown the world what he is capable of. Direct, skilful, fast, he has attributes that give him an edge over defenders. His link-up play with Juan Mata has been mesmerising at times - a telepathic connection in the making.
Oscar has also been improving in his performances. Surprisingly, an element of defensive play has emerged in his eloquent feet and he has occasionally played in just in front of the back-four. His English, however, is not so eloquent.
So big money has brought Chelsea a new feel to their play, but what of their reserves and loanees? A lot of people simply think that there is only a first team and a subs bench for Chelsea and that they only spend time on the big players, but there are players who do look like they can be exceptionally good players.
This season he has been sent out on loan to West Brom, and he has taken the opportunity to show his parent club and the rest of the league what he can do. Netting 13 goals in the league, he is above Fernando Torres in the goals department.
Strong, direct, and equipped with a very good shot, Lukaku resembles his old team-mate, Didier Drogba. However, Lukaku has stated he wants to be his own player and does not simply want to be the 'new Drogba'. If Chelsea were to send Lukaku out on loan once more next season, don't be surprised if he leaves the club soon after. He wants first-team football and his performances thus far have given him good reason to be playing. At the age of 19, he is capable of being a future world-class player.
Courtois, a goalkeeper, is another loanee that has already proven himself able to compete at the highest levels. Earlier this year, Courtois set a new Atletico Madrid record of 820 minutes without conceding a goal at the Estadio Vicente Calderon. That alone will make Petr Cech a worried man indeed.
Courtois is currently 20 and hungry for first-team football. He is intelligent enough to know that it will be hard to knock Cech off his perch, however, and so will ask for a third successive loan spell at Madrid to sustain his string of first-team football. He is an exciting prospect.
Nathan joined Chelsea in 2011 with aspirations to get into the first team, and that he did. This season he has made three appearances, his most important being the Europa League quarter-final against Rubin Kazan where he made a very solid display, making important tackles and good balls from the midfield.
He can play at centre-back, left-back or holding-midfield, which is useful for Rafael Benitez and his rotation policy. Ake has made many appearances for the under-21 Chelsea team and has impressed with his solid displays in defence. Don't be surprised to see him in that holding midfield role in a couple of seasons time for the first team.
Kevin de Bruyne
This Belgian midfielder has a similar playing style to the likes of Eden Hazard, Juan Mata and Oscar which makes him a good fit for Chelsea.
Currently on loan at Werder Bremen, he has six goals and 10 assists for the club, making 31 appearances - not bad for a loanee. He shows much promise at the age of 21 and has already made appearances for his country, including three this season in which he scored one goal.
Here is our first England-born future star. He has just got back from a loan spell to Middlesborough and looks ready to go. He had become a regular for Borough, making 38 appearances in all with three assists.
If he were to force his way into the first team, he would probably be given one of the two centre defensive midfielder roles simply because attacking positions would be taken up. His passing ability is outstanding and can dictate the tempo of a game with ease.
Brendan Rodgers, former Swansea manager who signed McEachran on loan last season, commented that Josh is a "wonderful technician" who possesses "great vision". Only good things await this young, English midfielder.
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