Here, GMS Academy member Jake Grice picks out three Chelsea players who are set to have a bright future at the club.
Ryan Bertrand’s career with Chelsea so far has been pretty hit and miss.
Due to the insane fitness levels and everlasting consistency in the performances of Ashley Cole, the young full-back has had to wait his turn.
Not many people could claim their first start for the club in the Champions League final but, in a cunning move by Roberto Di Matteo, in an attempt to reduce the threat posed by Arjen Robben and Philipp Lahm’s attacking threat on the right wing, Bertrand got a debut that players can only dream of.
Last season offered Bertrand his first real run in the team. Cole got a hamstring injury against Manchester United and so Rafa Benitez turned to Bertrand in his absence - the player did not disappoint.
There had been a lot of questions asked about Bertrand, people weren’t sure whether or not he was actually up to the task of replacing Cole. Like David Moyes' situation at Manchester United, replacing a legend of the game is never going to be easy and people need to give you a little time to make the role your own.
The extended run in the team allowed Bertrand to do just that and put in a string of displays that showed the player's potential.
He has a quick turn of pace and while his crossing into the box needs to improve, it is still effective enough to cause a threat. With an aerial target like Romelu Lukaku on the receiving end instead of Fernando Torres, Chelsea could reap the rewards.
He managed to bag himself a couple of goals too against Manchester City and Wolves, one of which down to lightning reactions to smash home a spilled ball and the other due to clever timing of his run onto a (as ever) perfectly weighted pass from Juan Mata.
Realistically, the only drawback with Bertrand is that due to slight ankle problems he won’t be able to fully emulate his idol (Cole), as the chances of him regularly playing 60 games a season are minimal.
Kevin de Bruyne
The first glimpse of Kevin de Bruyne the Chelsea faithful got was in the 2011 Champions League group stage. There aren't many positives that could be taken from Genk’s performance in the 6-1 aggregate thrashing but, the Belgian teen marauding up the right-wing clearly caught the eye.
Within a few weeks, the player was on the Chelsea books and spent the rest of the season on loan with the Belgian club. After the loan, KDB went on the club's pre-season tour to the USA and put in several impressive performances resulting in widespread calls for him to be included in the squad for the 2012 season.
The club ended up sending him on loan to Werder Bremen which turned out to be a wise move. De Bruyne became the vital cog in Bremen’s attack and whilst the team struggled KDB flourished, 34 appearances resulted in 10 goals and 10 assists.
The success of the season led to many of Europe’s top clubs taking an interest, Bayern Leverkusen wanted him thrown into the deal for Andre Schurrle, Dortmund wanted him to replace Mario Gotze and Liverpool were sniffing around too.
Jose Mourinho quickly put an end to the interest when his return was confirmed, announcing De Bruyne was a key part of his plans for the coming season and his form on the team's tour of Asia clearly showed why.
KDB started the first two games and was on fire until a devastating injury forced him back to London.
Lukaku lobbed the ball over the defence and De Bruyne smashed a beautiful volley into the back of the net. When landing, his ankle crumbled and he had to be stretchered off. Things didn’t look good but thankfully the young Belgian attacker has returned to training and is set to feature against Inter Milan on the August 2.
There aren’t many teenagers who could warrant a £20 million price tag, but Anderlecht’s Romelu Lukaku was clearly one of them.
Seven goals and two assists in 20 odd games for the Belgian club started turning the heads of Europe’s elite. Mourinho was reportedly very interested in bringing him to Real Madrid but Lukaku grew up a Chelsea fan and the Blues pipped Los Merengues to his signature.
His first season at the club was a frustrating one, despite winning the Champions League and FA Cup. Lukaku’s bit-part role wasn’t good for his development and clearly sitting on the bench was very frustrating for him, so Chelsea made the wise move of loaning him to West Brom.
The big Belgian quickly forced his way into the team and lead the Baggies to their best finish in a long time. 17 goals and four assists in 20 matches is the sort of form even his hero Didier Drogba would have been proud of, and Mourinho very quickly let it be known Lukaku was going nowhere for the 2013 season.
His form in pre-season was breathtaking. Four goals and an assist in 115 minutes of football, terrorising the defenders in the process with his pace and power.
Next season will be the making of Lukaku and no doubt the Premier League's defenders are quaking at the thought of facing a fired up Lukaku with a point to prove.
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