Bakayoko, Drinkwater: Chelsea's eight forgotten stars ahead of Premier League return

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Chelsea have returned to pre-season action ahead of the 2021/22 campaign.

Chelsea return for pre-season

Putting in the hard yards during the summer months is always crucial for any club winding up for the new season and often sees a deluge of players reintegrating to the squad after time out on loan.

It really does make for a varied and fascinating soup of footballers who are often given a new opportunity to prove themselves at the club, particularly if there's a new coach in the dugout.

And that's exactly the case when it comes to Chelsea with Thomas Tuchel finally getting the chance to spend some quality time with his squad before tackling a full campaign at Stamford Bridge.

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Chelsea's huge loan system

However, Tuchel is by no means facing an easy task because Chelsea are world famous for their heavy use of the loan system, so a whole host of new faces have returned to Cobham this week.

And while, yes, it hardly seems jarring to see players like Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Ross Barkley back in Chelsea gear, there are certain footballers who it's hard to believe still play for the Blues.

That might seem like an incredibly dramatic statement, but bear in mind for a second that many of the returning players spotted in pre-season this week haven't actually played for Chelsea in years.

In fact, some of the athletes placed in front of Tuchel's gaze haven't turned out for the west London club in more than half a decade or in the case of one, just once in their entire professional career.

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It's a wild situation that we've taken a closer look at here at GIVEMESPORT and we feel pretty confident that we've isolated eight players that many fans will have forgotten are still technically Chelsea lads.

This is by no means any sort of criticism against said eight players but rather, they just happen to stand out from the rest as having been the most disassociated with the Blues in the last few years.

And given that it can be a little difficult to keep track of all the loan and transfer movements at the club, we're using their official first-team squad list on their website to make our selections.

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ENTER GIVEAWAY

Eight forgotten Chelsea players

So, strap yourselves in and brace yourself for a series of double-takes because here are eight footballers who it's tough to believe are genuinely still Chelsea players.

1. Baba Rahman

Yes, that's right, we're starting off strong because Rahman was pulling on the Chelsea gear this week despite having not actually played for the first team since the catastrophic 2015/16 season.

Since then, the Ghanaian has been on something of a European tour with three consecutive years at Schalke followed by loan stints with Reims, Mallorca and most recently PAOK out in Greece.

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2. Davide Zappacosta

Admit it, you thought he'd been sold. Zappacosta is back at Cobham despite not having played for the Blues since the Maurizio Sarri days, spending seasons out on loan with AS Roma and Genoa.

3. Matt Miazga

It seems baffling that a player who only ever made two Premier League outings for the Blues all the way back in 2015-16 - sound familiar? - would still be a Chelsea player over half a decade later.

But that's exactly what has happened to US international Miazga who turned out for Vitesse Arnhem, Nantes, Reading and Anderlecht before reporting back at Chelsea for pre-season duties.

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4. Tiémoué Bakayoko

An infamous figure at Stamford Bridge for completely flopping in the Premier League, Bakayoko still can't break free from Chelsea's grasps despite loan spells with AC Milan, AS Monaco and Napoli.

5. Lewis Baker

Once tipped by Jose Mourinho to play for England, Baker still has just a single senior appearance for Chelsea to his name and that came over seven years ago during an FA Cup clash in 2014.

Nevertheless, the 26-year-old is still on Chelsea's books having spent time at Sheffield Wednesday, MK Dons, Vitesse Arnhem, Middlesbrough, Leeds United, Reading, Fortuna Düsseldorf and Trabzonspor since his debut.

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6. Danny Drinkwater

It's been a dismal few years for Drinkwater from only appearing for Sarri's Chelsea in the Community Shield to being told to leave Aston Villa's training ground for head-butting Jota.

Marry that to a Burnley loan spell that reaped just two games and spending the 2020/21 season in Turkey with Kasımpaşa to see exactly why it's hard to believe Drinkwater is still a Chelsea player.

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7. Charly Musonda

Time away with Real Betis, Celtic and Vitesse Arnhem has done little to elevate Musonda's career to the heights once expected of him, but he still has the potential launchpad of Chelsea to his name.

8. Kenedy

And rounding off the forgotten Chelsea employees is a real straggler who has actually made 23 appearances for the club across three seasons, chipping in with a single Premier League goal.

However, it looks unlikely that Kenedy will build on those statistics as Chelsea inevitably look for a new suitor after uninspiring loan projects with Watford, Newcastle United, Getafe and Granada.

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A potential clean slate?

Go on, admit it, you were surprised that at least a few of these players were still on Chelsea's books, never mind playing alongside first-team regulars in pre-season training this week.

Truth be told, it's hard to imagine the likes of Drinkwater and Musonda rubbing shoulders with Hakim Ziyech and Christian Pulisic for much longer, but stranger things have happened in this crazy sport.

Besides, the likes of Victor Moses and Andreas Christensen have previously laid down the example that you can become jammed in the Chelsea loan system and come out the other side laughing.

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Whether or not that will be the case for these forgotten Blues remains to be seen, but we'd love nothing more than for Tuchel to give them a clean slate after a chaotic few years in west London.

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