Jonathan Muleba is probably not a name often heard among Chelsea fans. Even for a prospect, he had flown a bit under the radar, despite featuring almost 40 times for the Chelsea youth teams over the last 18 months. And now he's off to make a name for himself in Bournemouth.
Muleba, originally from Burundi, joined the Blues in 2009 as an under-14, becoming a regular in the under-18 squad as a first-year scholar last season. He was not immediately offered a professional contract when he became eligible, but his improving performances as the under-18 captain this season convinced Chelsea to sign him up. Now, just barely over two months later, he's moved on. So that's a bit weird.
"I've been looking forward to coming here for a few weeks now. I've seen that the players in the development squad get opportunities here and the chance to train with the first team, which was important to me."
"It's always difficult to leave home, because I'm from London, and what you know, but in terms of football it was quite an easy decision."
-Jonathan Muleba; source: AFC Bournemouth
Sounds like the 18-year-old versatile defender was not convinced that he'd get enough opportunities at Chelsea. Chances are, he's probably not wrong, although Chelsea did offer him a contract extension, so perhaps we did see more of a future for him here than the player himself did.
"I feel that we are gaining a player here who the club can hopefully benefit from in a few years' time."
"He was offered another contract by Chelsea, but came to train with us and look at the way we train and our philosophy. He bought into that straight away."
-Stephen Purches, Development Coach; source: AFC Bournemouth
Muleba joins the development squad (not entirely clear if this means the U21 or U18 squad) at the mid-table Championship side. The Cherries gained promotion from League One at the end of last season.