Kevin De Bruyne and Petr Cech feature in starting XI of discarded Chelsea players

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Sky Sports have revealed that Belgium will be ranked no.1 in world football after their successful Euro 2016 campaign, with one player amongst their ranks particularly standing out throughout.

Kevin De Bruyne, currently a Manchester City player having joined in the summer for £55 million from Wolfsburg, was an integral figure in his country's campaign, losing just once throughout and comfortably topping the group.

However, although it seems a long time ago, it’s easy to forget that De Bruyne was once a Chelsea player, and looking at the Blues' transfer business over the last five seasons, the 24-year-old is not a one-off case.


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Chelsea have developed an unusual habit of signing quality players who end up on the bench, as well as letting top talent go to find success at rival clubs. To emphasise this, Jose Mourinho has sent a staggering 33 players out on loan this season.

Granted some are youth prospects, but there are also some big name players to have joined them in departing the club. Here's what a side containing such players would look like:

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Goalkeeper – Petr Cech (£10 million, transfer)

Cech doesn’t quite fit the same profile as many other players in this list. Having departed for Arsenal this summer, it’s clear Mourinho had a difficult decision to make regarding the number one shirt at Chelsea.

The emergence of Thibaut Courtois over the past four years was inevitably going to lead to Cech losing his place in the side, and at 33, it was important the Czech Republican found regular football in the twilight years of his career.

He served Chelsea admirably for over ten years, making 333 league appearances and winning every major honour. Unlike some other names here, the deal suited all parties.

Right-back – Ryan Bertrand (£10 million, transfer)

Not strictly a right-back, Bertrand was one of the most promising English youngsters at Chelsea. Like other compatriots, the left-back was loaned out numerous times and was never really given the chance to develop at Chelsea or stake his claim for a place.

Of course, Ashley Cole was a prominent figure during much of Bertrand’s time at Stamford Bridge, but with the Blues' defensive line looking vulnerable at the moment, they could do with having him amongst their ranks.

Following an impressive season on loan at Southampton, he joined permanently this summer, and whilst injuries have hampered his progress recently, he looks to be a genuine contender for England’s no.3 shirt.

Centre-back – Tomas Kalas (still at club, on loan)

Now 22, Kalas has been another victim of Chelsea’s lack of development of youth prospects, and given past examples, he looks set to continue the trend of leaving the club in the near future, having never been given a chance.

Currently on loan for the second season in a row at Middlesborough, Kalas operates as a centre-back or full-back. Unusually, he recently signed a three-year extension to his deal which seems odd given the number of players who seem to be ahead of him at Chelsea.

Left-back – Felipe Luis (undisclosed fee, transfer)

A very poor and unusual piece of business for Jose Mourinho. As discussed, Chelsea seem short of quality at full-back this season, yet Luis left the club after only one year.

Purchased for £15.8 million from Atletico Madrid in 2014, Luis never really made a lasting impression and was sold back to his former employers with only 15 league appearances to his name.

Central midfield – Kevin De Bruyne (£18 million, transfer)

Certainly the biggest name and loss of talent on this list. De Bruyne was sold to Wolfsburg in January 2014 for what seemed like a huge sum of money at the time.

Roll forward a year or so and Manchester City spent £55 million to acquire his services, more than doubling his value. The main reason for this huge increase: 16 goals and 27 assists to his name in the Bundesliga.

De Bruyne is certainly one to watch out for over the next five years. He has made a promising start to his career in Manchester and is becoming an increasingly prominent figure.

Central midfield – Marko Van Ginkel (still at club, on loan)

The promising Dutchman was purchased in 2013 by Chelsea but has yet to be given a chance. Currently on loan at Stoke City, he spent last season at AC Milan.

What Chelsea plan to do with the 22-year-old in seasons to come remains to be seen, but the plethora of talent they have in midfield will limit his progress, not to mention his persistent injury problems.

Right wing – Mohamed Salah (still at club, on loan)

Salah was attracting a lot of attention in 2013 after impressing a number of managers with his pace and trickery, demonstrated at FC Basel.

In the January 2014 transfer window, Liverpool and Chelsea emerged as the two front-runners for his signature, and whilst Salah chose the latter, he might now be regretting that decision.

This season he finds himself on loan with Italian side Roma, who have the option to buy. Based on his success on loan, this could well be the end of his Chelsea career.

Centre attacking midfield – Andre Schurrle (£22 million, transfer)

Schurrle is a winger or forward by trade, but fits into this side nicely as a CAM.

Signed for £18 million from Bayer Leverkusen, Schurrle already had a big reputation as one to watch in European football yet lasted just one and a half seasons at Chelsea, scoring 11 goals in 44 league appearances.

Many see Schurrle, along with others on this list, as a victim of competition with Eden Hazard, with the Belgian an immovable object in Mourinho's side given his likening for the winger.

Left wing – Juan Cuadrado (still at club, on loan)

Signed in place of Schurrle, with Salah part of the deal, Cuadrado is possibly the biggest flop on this list.

The nature of the deal and swapping round three top quality players in the same position demonstrates how unhappy Mourinho has been with the wingers he has purchased.

Cuadrado joined from Fiorentina as one of the stand-out players from the 2014 World Cup, yet half a season later finds himself on loan back in Serie A at Juventus, having made only 13 league appearances for Chelsea.

Forward – Romelu Lukaku (£28 million, transfer)

Still only 22, Lukaku joined Chelsea from Anderlecht as a hugely exciting prospect yet spent the majority of his time at Chelsea in the reserves.

Two hugely successful loan spells at West Brom and Everton followed before the Belgian joined the Toffees for £28 million last summer.

Lukaku has continually demonstrated his immense talent in the Premier League and will undoubtedly become a big name in world football, with the deal further exemplifying how short-sighted Chelsea can be when signing young talent.

Forward – Daniel Sturridge (£12 million, transfer)

Signed as a youth prospect from Manchester City, Sturridge spent four years at Chelsea, making a name for himself during a loan spell at Bolton Wanderers, scoring 8 league goals in 12 appearances.

Returning to Chelsea, many were excited to see how the Englishman would progress and stake his claim for a place in the international side. Unfortunately, a lack of opportunities up front hampered Sturridge and he was often deployed out wide.

In January 2013, Sturridge moved to Liverpool for £12million and is considered one of Brendan Rodgers' best signings during his time at the club.

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