Last season saw three of Chelsea's young stars leave the club to gain valuable first-team experience. 

Romelu Lukaku left for Premier League outfit West Bromwich Albion, Kevin De Bruyne jetted off to the Bundesliga to turn out for Werder Bremen while Thibaut Courtois departed to hold the gloves at Atletico Madrid. 

How have they all faired and are they ready to return to Stamford Bridge this year and fight for a first-team place?

Romelu Lukaku

The big Belgian striker caused quite a stir this season with his loan at West Bromwich Albion, and that's without his last day of the season siege of the Manchester United goal. 

The centre-forward has excelled in the Midlands set-up, scoring 17 goals in 35 appearances and helping the Baggies to their highest ever Premier League finish of eighth. 

He is strong, tall and has a tremendous amount of agility and pace for someone of his stature, this is combined with a good touch and brilliant aeriel ability he is certainly Premier League standard and has the promise of turning into a future league top scorer. 

Next season? Where the big Belgian plays his football will all depend on how Chelsea's transfers this summer work out. The club has been linked with some big name forwards, some of Europe's greatest in fact with the likes of Edinson Cavani, Hulk and Stevan Jovetic all on the Blues list. 

I would want to see Lukaku play at Stamford Bridge this season, he has experience against some of the league's defenders and would solve Chelsea's problem of not having a big target man up front. 

Kevin De Bruyne

Another young Belgian who was shipped out to learn how to better his game before trying his luck in the Premier League. He had a season in, what many are calling 'the best league in Europe this year', the Bundesliga. 

Playing for Werder Bremen, who as a club have not had one of their greatest seasons in recent history, but with help from the small agile midfielder managed to ward of any relegation fears with an impressive haul of 10 goals from 33 games. 

Not a bad start for the young midfielder who was forced out of Chelsea by the signing of his Belgian counterpart Eden Hazard. 

This player is certainly a future star, he possesses very quick feet and does his best work with the ball at his feet and he is good at taking on his opponent. 

What he lacks in stature and strength - he makes up for with quick feet and strong team work ethics, continuously running up and down the field from box-to-box. 

I don't think he is quite ready to step out for Chelsea, especially as their midfield is one of the finest in the Premier League and he doesn't possess the ability to dislodge Oscar, Mata or Hazard. 

However, he needs to now play at a top club with strong players around him. There have been rumours that both Bayern Levekusen and Borussia Dortmund are keen on taking him for a year. This would be an ideal move for the young man.

Thibaut Courtios 

Pages upon pages have already been written about this young goalkeeper and his performances this season. He has been playing at one of the best Spanish clubs in Atletico Madrid and has earned a lot of praise for some outstanding play against Real Madrid. 

Courtios has been with the Madrid club for two seasons now where he has won the Copa Del Rey and the Europa League in to cap off his hard work and natural talent. 

He conceded the least amount of goals in La Liga, with 20 clean sheets and only conceding 29 goals in 37 appearances all season setting plenty of records in the mean time. 

The young goalkeeper is certainly ready to take on the challenges of the Premier League and there is only one man standing in his way, Petr Cech. The Chelsea number one will be a hard man to replace, as he has been one of the best goalkeepers of the past 10 years. 

Courtios has stated on numerous occasions that he would not want to go back to Chelsea and sit on the bench, and neither would Cech. 

So it is a case of do you show one of the greatest goalkeepers of the 21st Century the door to make way for the youth and the young man who will one day hold the title of the world's greatest. 

I don't think it will happen this season, not with Cech still pulling out heroic performances and top drawer saves week-in, week-out. 

 

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Topics:
Chelsea
Football
Premier League
Romelu Lukaku