Chelsea have reportedly agreed a deal with Crystal Palace for the transfer of Marc Guéhi, and he could be just one of several Academy youngsters still to leave the club this summer. According to multiple reports, the futures of Valentino Livramento, Lewis Bate, Myles Peart-Harris are all uncertain, while Dynel Simeu is already a free agent.
According to reports, Simeu has rejected Chelsea’s two-year contract offer and is set to sign for another Premier League side in the coming days. The other three have all been offered contract extensions, but have yet to sign. Their refusal to sign has kept them out of traveling with the Development Squad for preseason friendlies in Scotland, let alone having any designs of them training with the first-team.
All of this should be quite familiar since Chelsea have tended to prioritize external signings over Academy talent throughout the Abramovich Era. While the situation appeared to improve with Frank Lampard and Jody Morris in charge, that paradigm shift appears to have been short-lived (ed.note: we already saw it starting to revert back in that second season, especially when looking at Tomori, Abraham’s downward trend of minutes, and the lack of new debutants).
Unsurprisingly, there is now once again growing doubt about the pathways available to Academy players. The Athletic report that this is causing concern for some at the club, though evidently not yet among those who are sanctioning our transfer market activities.
(Ed.note: as mentioned, this is a most familiar conundrum, and one that does not have an easy answer, despite strong opinions on either side of the argument. The Academy produces more talent than we could ever use, even if we were to build around a homegrown core — which, in fairness, we still can with Mount, James, Christensen, and maybe Abraham still in place — we could not give a place to every promising player. Guéhi and Tomori leaving is unfortunate, given the need to refresh that part of the squad, but it’s only as big of a catastrophe as previous exoduses. The Academy’s only getting stronger and better every year, and those who leave are set up for great careers — guaranteeing that the influx of talent will continue, perhaps eventually with the understanding that “making it” at Chelsea is not the actual end-goal. But I digress..)
▪️ Three standout junior #CFC players stalling on contracts— The Athletic UK (@TheAthleticUK) July 16, 2021
▪️ Simeu expected to move to another PL club after rejecting deal
▪️ Fans unhappy about Guehi's exit
▪️ Transfer ban & Lampard encouraged youth promotion; that will now slow
In more positive news, Henry Lawrence is reportedly being eyed by AFC Wimbledon in a loan move, with Chelsea open to letting him leave temporarily. It’s worth noting that there is already a contingent of current and former Chelsea personnel at Plough Lane, with James Simmonds on loan as assistant coach and Luke McCormick a recent signing.
Meanwhile, Ike Ugbo is closing in on a move to Genk, as per Fabrizio Romano. Ugbo, who has also been linked with West Ham, Anderlecht, and quite a few others, has apparently chosen Genk due to game-time gurantees. Given all the interest, Chelsea might look to raise our £5m asking price.
Ike Ugbo is set to leave Chelsea this summer, confirmed. Genk are now leading the race to sign him on a permanent deal - negotiations progressing with Chelsea. #CFC #Genk— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) July 14, 2021
Besiktas, Feyenoord and PSV approached Chelsea to sign Ugbo but Genk are confident to complete the deal. https://t.co/aGi2YPmJrW