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Chelsea release George McEachran, Thierno Ballo, Karlo Žiger; offer contracts to Xavier Simons, Ethan Wady

Youth of today, and tomorrow

Bristol Rovers v Chelsea U21 - Papa John’s Trophy
George McEachran in action last October
Photo by Alex Burstow/Getty Images

In addition to four players with at least one first-team appearance for Chelsea officially confirmed as leaving today, we also have a few Academy players who have been released, as per the retained/released list submitted by the club to the league. While these lists are not binding, they are usually an accurate indicator of what’s what (with special exceptions in some cases).

As spoiled in the headline, those Academy players include George McEachran, 21, Thierno Ballo, 20, and Karlo Žiger, 21. George’s exit means that Chelsea will be without a McEachran on the books for the first time in over 20 years. Josh, his older brother (currently set to be out of contract as well after a solid season at MK Dons), joined Chelsea in 2001 at the age of 7; George followed in 2009. He’s been a regular at all the age levels, but never quite got to make his first-team debut, and his two brief loans, to SC Cambuur and MVV Maastricht in the Netherlands were largely useless.

Neither Ballo, a forward, nor Žiger, a goalkeeper, have quite that strong of a connection to Cobham, with the former arriving in 2018 and the latter a year prior. Ballo spent the first half of this season on loan at Rapid Vienna before returning early in January. Žiger was at Rudar Velenje in the Slovenian second division, playing about half their games.

Best of luck to all three.

In better news, we have offered new contracts to Ethan Wady, another goalkeeper, as well as to Xavier Simons, who actually made his first-team debut earlier this season, in the League Cup win over Brentford. Since the list was submitted, Simons has even signed his contract, as per Football.London’s Adam Newson. Very good!