Many in the Chelsea Academy are busy signing or extending their professional contracts. Others are busy getting their first year scholarship papers in order. There were quite a few of the latter in fact, at least a dozen if not more at a rough count. We'll discuss all the guys soon, once all the details and signings come to light.
Yet this time of year also inevitably means a few departures as young players who have not made the cut get released. Of course, as per club policy, they don't just get shoved out the door. The club takes care of its own. Always.
"What is important is we do ask those boys to stay in contact and should they be struggling to find clubs in the future, we will certainly be here to help them in every way."
"An example is four of the players we released last year we continued to employ in other roles with the Academy for a further year provided they also carried out some education studies. They didn't go from Chelsea to maybe needing to get part-time jobs that wouldn't allow them to do their studies - so our support consists of programmes such as that."
"When you are developing talent, it is about recruitment staff identifying that talent. It is then about our people at the club inducting and developing the talent and then unfortunately some players get released, but a very important part of that programme is how we release people. It is important to us like winning is."
-Neil Bath; source: Chelsea FC
The four he's referring to were Sam Bangura, Ismael Seremba, Tom Howard, and lifetime champion of every best name contest ever Nortei Nortey. While I don't know exactly how Chelsea took care of them while they looked for a new job or career, I'm assuming it wasn't just to have them scrub the Cobham floors.
This year's cut list is as follows:
"We would like to wish the boys well who have been with us a long, long time - Adam Nditi, Danny Pappoe, Milan Lalkovic, Ambrose Gnahore and Chike Kandi."
-Neil Bath; source: Chelsea FC
No real surprises there, I suppose, though I had always hoped my countryman, the 21-year-old Milan Lalkovič would conjure up a magic elixir that would vault him up a couple levels. He seemed to have found his level at League One Walsall last season on loan though, so hopefully he'll catch on somewhere along those lines again.
Pappoe, 21, is another sad story, though for different reasons altogether. A series of knee injuries have almost halted a once incredibly promising career, one that despite all that still managed to reach heights such as getting a call-up to (train with) the Ghana national football team. He spent the second half of last season on loan at non-league Kingstonian.
Gnahore, 18, and Kandi, 19, had been one foot out the door for a few months already, going on various trials across England, while 19-year-old Adam Nditi, as much I wanted to like the kid, was usually one of the weakest players in any Chelsea youth side that I've watched over the last several years.
Good luck to all. Perhaps our paths shall cross again.