Academy standout Lewis Bate is one of several young players at Chelsea whose futures at the club are in doubt, which is causing some concern — albeit a familiar one.
The 18-year-old’s initial pro deal is expiring next summer, and according to multiple reports, he’s yet to make a decision about whether he wants to continue with Chelsea or try to look for an easier pathway into senior football. (He’s trained and made the bench for Chelsea, but has yet to make his debut.)
As with Valentino Livramento and Myles Peart-Harris, there is no shortage of potential suitors for a highly talented product of the Chelsea Academy. According to the Daily Mail, the likes of Leeds, Southampton, West Ham, and Liverpool are all keen on Bate, though as The Athletic note, Liverpool are just as unlikely a choice as staying with Chelsea, since the pathway is similarly circuitous and challenging there.
Bate is the latest in the growing trend of players wanting to make the jump to first-team football at a younger and younger age, which is also a reflection of the high quality work being done in the Academy.
Unlike the aforementioned trio, older Academy graduate Trevoh Chalobah is currently training with the first-team, having returned from the third loan of his young career. His desire to potentially leave permanently is much more understandable, having put in the miles with the Loan Army and found success both in England (Ipswich, Huddersfield) and abroad (Lorient in the French top division).
With just one year left on his contract, the 22-year-old has been heavily linked with West Bromwich Albion as well as Brentford, though as L’Équipe report, Lorient would love to have the young midfielder back as well. Trouble for them (and for us), is that Chalobah’s contract expires next summer, so another loan would only be possible if he signed an extension with Chelsea. And that’s unlikely to happen, unless we offer him first-team football.
Familiar conundrums; no easy answers.