In this business of world football, there’s always a bit of wheeling and dealing happening among Europe’s biggest clubs. All of them trying to one up each other and buy the next superstar. Sometimes, team’s get so desperate, that they either stunt the development of a superstar in the making, or give up on a developing superstar in the midst of their growth. Others have to give up their superstars who are craving greener pastures in Europe (Atalanta, Porto, Ajax). In Chelsea’s case, they are the master of stunting development and giving up on young talents. This is mostly due to the impatient Jose Mourinho who needs results immediately or you face the axe. These are the top 5 players in world football right now, that Chelsea have sold (in no particular order).
Mohamed Salah (Roma)
You would be forgiven if you had forgotten that Mohamed Salah once played for Chelsea. Bought from Basel in January 2014, he was sparingly used by Jose Mourinho. Only making 13 league appearances in full year with the club and in January of 2015 he would be loaned out to Fiorentina. He would make an impression for La Viola and by the summer of 2015, Fiorentina looked to activate an option to acquire Salah permanently. Salah refused, however, and joined Roma on loan where he would grow into the dynamic and electric winger that he is now. He would make his move to Roma permanent last summer and featured in 31 Serie A games and scoring 15 goals. Now Salah is looking to make his return to the Premier League with Liverpool where he looks to dethrone his former club.
Romelu Lukaku (Everton)
Perhaps Chelsea’s number one target for this summer. Romelu Lukaku once called Stamford Bridge home when he came to West London from Anderlecht in 2011. Lukaku would only make 10 appearances for the club and he failed to score a single goal during his spell at Chelsea. He would make loan moves to West Brom (where he was terrific) and to Everton before staying at Goodison Park for good in 2014. He would make 66 Premier League appearances on loan and would score 33 goals. Those two years Lukaku was on loan, Chelsea failed to field a striker that would reach 10 league goals. Fumbling around with a hapless Fernando Torres and a hopeless Demba Ba. Chelsea had to rely on Mata, Lampard, and Hazard for goals (lucky them, they could carry the load). And when Chelsea officially gave up on Lukaku in 2014, they luckily employed the services of Diego Costa to become their frontman. Now Chelsea may have to splash 50 to 60m pounds to bring the big Belgian back to the Bridge.
Filipe Luis (Atletico Madrid)
If you think a left back isn’t of much value, then you clearly don’t watch Chelsea. Marcos Alonso was responsible for 9 goals in 36 games last season, that’s a goal every 4 games from your left back. Many would take that ratio, and Filipe Luis brought in the same amount of goals in La Liga for Atletico in less games, and he played for Chelsea. Unfortunately for the Blues, they had sold their ideal left back of the future back to Los Rojiblancos in 2015. Marcos Alonso is a fantastic left back, don’t get me wrong, but Filipe Luis is now the 2nd best player at his position in the world, and I’m sure Conte could put that kind of talent to work. He completes the most dribbles a game out of any defender in Europe, making him a prime offensive threat from the wings. The Brazilian’s now pleased with where he is as he looks to play out the rest of his prime years with Diego Simeone in Spain’s capital city.
Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City)
A move that became insanely documented when he made his return to the Premier League with Manchester City from Wolfsburg. It’s pretty well known at this point that Jose Mourinho dumped the Belgian to Wolfsburg when he couldn’t get playing time in front of Hazard, Willian, or Fabregas. Kevin De Bruyne was brought to Stamford Bridge in 2012 but was sent out on loan to Werder Bremen in his first season. He would play for Chelsea in 2013/2014 but would only make three appearances! Jose Mourinho would return for his second stint with Chelsea and would sell the Belgian after the World Cup to Wolfsburg where he would be the Bundesliga Player of the Year in 2015. His stellar year would warrant a return to the Premier League, but this time with Manchester City. Since returning to the Premier League, he won the League Cup and has become one of the top playmakers in Europe. Although Chelsea are going forward short of regrets, since winning the Premier League this past season, but I’m sure letting go of KDB for 18 millions pounds just for him to return for the 2nd largest transfer fee in Premier League history at the time. It’s just not good business.
Arjen Robben (Bayern Munich)
Arjen Robben came to Stamford Bridge after leaving his 2nd club, PSV Eindhoven. Robben would win back to back Premier League titles with Jose Mourinho in 2005 and 2006. Robben would be integral down the left wing and be a major piece in Chelsea’s attack. Robben would miss out on the PFA Young Player of the Year to Wayne Rooney in 2005. Robben would face an injury inflicted 2nd half of the season in 2007 before being bought by admirers, Real Madrid. That would spell the end of Robben’s Premier League career (thus far), as he made 67 appearances and scoring 15 goals in the league. The Flying Dutchman made 50 appearances for Real Madrid and netting 11 goals, flying down the left wing for Madrid. He would be a crucial player for Real for two years, but was forced to leave the club in 2009 when Cristiano Ronaldo and Kaka arrived to the club. He would then play his absolute best football, playing for German power Bayern Munich. Bayern would stick him to the right wing, where he would develop his famous cut ins with his right foot. Robben would win every trophy under the sea with Bayern, and would develop into one of the best wingers of his generation. Unfortunately for Chelsea, he was a player that was bought by the biggest club in the world. Given an offer that they couldn’t refuse.