The previous week at Chelsea may not have been as eventful as many expected. Our new coach is yet to be announced, and the same goes for other assorted deals, in and out of Stamford Bridge. But at the very least, we started the new week off with a bit of very good news: new contracts for Academy players!
✍️ New deals for three of our Academy boys... https://t.co/vJeACnFglJ— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) July 1, 2019
Perhaps the most noticeable of them is Juan Castillo. He was expected to leave Chelsea this summer — possibly for Juventus — with his contract expiring on June 30th. But in a sudden and surprising turn of events, Chelsea announced that the 19-year-old has signed a new three-year deal with the club.
Castillo joined the Chelsea youth academy from Ajax in 2016. Ostensibly a wing-back but able to play just about anywhere on the left flank, the versatile Dutch youth international helped Chelsea to back to back U18 Premier League and FA Youth Cup trophies, falling just short of adding a UEFA Youth League winner’s medal, too, after being beaten by Porto in last season’s final.
He signed his first professional contract with Chelsea as soon as he turned 17 in 2017, a two-and-a-half year deal as allowed by the maximum limits of FA regulations. But he was set to depart after being convinced that he would not be able to make a breakthrough into the first team anytime soon. Castillo was probably not incorrect in thinking so, given Chelsea’s usual travails in that department.
The other two are English midfielders Tariq Uwakwe and George McEachran, who also signed new three-year deals with the Blues. The former will be in his twelfth season as a Chelsea player, while the latter was included in our bench selection for a game against MOL Vidi, and in the squad that travelled to the Europa League final versus Arsenal in Baku last season. Along with Castillo, Uwakwe and McEachran helped our youth development team reach the UEFA Youth League final in the 2018-19 term.
Last, but not least, we have the first professional contract for defender Sam McClelland. The 17-year-old from Northern Ireland got 20 matches under his belt this season with the development squad.
Perhaps the imminent return of Frank Lampard and former academy coach Jody Morris has something to do with the bulk signing of contracts for these players? Either way, it bodes well for Chelsea to keep hold of talents such as Castillo et al. And we may get to see some of them in the first-team sooner than later!