Xavier Simons is one of at least six Chelsea Academy players in the older age groups whose contracts are currently set to expire at the end of the season. Unlike the others*, he has not only trained with the first-team on multiple occasions, but he’s also made his senior debut, getting the start against Brentford, his former youth club, ironically, in the League Cup quarterfinals before also making the bench for our FA Cup third round match against Chesterfield.
And, as per a report from Goal, he’s also attracting some Premier League interest, with the likes of Southampton (of course), Brighton, Norwich City, and Watford apparently all ready to snap up the latest promising player coming off the Cobham production line. It’s the one unfortunate side effect of running such a successful Academy that churns out top tier talent: we cannot keep them all. You’re welcome, rest of the league and football.
But it’s not clear yet which path Simons will choose, with the report claiming that the recently turned 19-year-old “wants assurances” of an (eventual) pathway into the first-team. He’s apparently not averse to a loan next season however, which is good.
Hammersmith-born Simons joined Chelsea in 2016 after Brentford closed down their academy, and he’s emerged as one of the leaders in the dressing room since. He played as right wing-back in his lone senior appearance, but is more known for being a “vocal and tough-tackling” defensive midfielder. We have a fair few older players in both of those positions in the first-team currently, which could indeed open up an (eventual) pathway for Simons, should he continue his progression and development, maybe.
* the others include, as per Transfermarkt, George McEachran, Dion Rankine, Josh Brooking, Thierno Ballo, and Sam McClelland. McEachran, Rankine, and Brooking have spent a bit of time in first-team training as well.