Chelsea have undergone a dramatic change in transfer policy in recent years, looking to spend money on young prospects with bags of potential. 

This has resulted in an academy packed with talent, as well as players on loan who could make a huge impact at the club in later years. Here are the five best of them.

1. Thibaut Courtois

At only 21-years-old, Courtois could already be named as one of the top ten keepers in the world. The young Belgian has had two fantastic seasons on loan at Atletico Madrid, which included a record-breaking 820 minutes without conceding a home goal. Furthermore, he was also honoured with the Zamora award for his excellent 2012/13 season.

This award goes to the La Liga keeper with the best games to goal conceded ratio, and he is the first man to win it from a team other than Barcelona and Real Madrid for five years. 

Chelsea may not have expected Courtois to have developed this quickly, giving them an awkward dilemma; Cech is still performing at the top level, so another loan may out may be given to the youngster.

2. Romelu Lukaku 

The young man had an awkward first season at Chelsea. Villas-Boas cast him out and did not reward the Belgian international with any valuable playing time. However, as he said he would, Lukaku bounced back.

His loan to West Bromwich has been a hugely successful one, scoring 17 Premier League goals. His lethal combination of pace and power proved very effective in the front line; these physical traits ensure that there is no roof for the 20-year-old. 

His movement and touch have vastly improved over the course of the season, and if reports are to be believed, Mourinho may have him wearing the Chelsea shirt next year.

3. Nathanial Chalobah

Another loan deal that could hardly have gone better. Chalobah clocked up 42 appearances this season as a defensive-midfielder for Watford. 

His distribution of the ball and tackling ability have been excellent, and he has now pronounced himself as one of the top young talents in the country. His incredible strives this season saw him win England's Youth Player of The Year, an incredible feat for a 18-year-old. 

Chalobah  is now in a key stage in his development, and will need consistent playing time again this season. He's clearly ready for Premier League football, but Chelsea need to handle the matter carefully. A repeat of McEachran's loan to Swansea or Kakuta's loan to Bolton would be a waste of a key year in Chalobah's development.

4. Kevin De Bruyne

The young Belgian has had a fantastic season in the Bundesliga, proving to be an essential part of Werder Bremen's team. His performances and the seemingly imminent arrival of Andre Schurrle have raised speculation over his future. 

However, De Visser's (chief scout at Chelsea) recent comments seem to show that the London club value De Bruyne highly as a prospect for the immediate future. 

And good reason for it, De Bruyne has showed great dribbling a passing ability over the course of the year and has become one of the first names on the team sheet for Werder Bremen, contributing with 10 assists and 10 goals this season. The 21-year-old has a bright future ahead of him.

5. Lucas Piazon

Chelsea had to fend off strong interest from Juventus for the signature of the coveted youngster, and he certainly impressed in his first season at Chelsea. 

At only 17 years of age, Lucas Piazon was Chelsea's star performer at reserve and youth level. He set an ambitious goal for the team of winning the FA Youth Cup, which was achieved with a victory over Blackburn in the final. 

His stellar performances did not go unnoticed, and he was called up to training with first team and onto the Chelsea bench for a couple of games. His impressive season was rewarded with Chelsea Youth Player of the Year. This season saw the young man take new strides in his career. Piazon won his debut for Chelsea, acquiring a three appearances in total, in which he produced two assists.

In January Piazon went on loan to Malaga CF. The 19-year-old was definitely ready for top flight football, but lending him to a club in the Champions League knockout stages and fighting for a top four place was rather aggressive. 

Nevertheless, the young Brazilian got to show off his passing ability, speed and flair as he clocked 10 appearances for the La Liga outfit, mainly used as a second half substitute. Perhaps loaning him out to a less competitive team where Piazon can break into the first XI will be more beneficial to his development next season.

 

These five players, with careful handling and playing time, will have very bright futures indeed. Chelsea also have many more young prospects waiting in the wings such as Nathan Ake, Tomas Kalas and McEachran who didn't quite make the list. 

Is there anyone else I've missed? Which young prospects would you put in the top five?

 

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#Chelsea
#Premier League
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