The narrative heading into the summer was that Chelsea not only needed to trim a bloated first-team squad, but that we would look to move on several of our Academy-grown stars for maximum bottom-line impact.
However, so far, that hasn’t happened, with the majority of our business involving older players and/or players who arrived for significant transfer fees in the not-so-distant past.
But in the last couple days, that trend has been broken and broken rather forcibly. And this isn’t even a story about Mason Mount!
Today we say goodbye to Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Chelsea since the age of 8, and one of the trailblazers (despite various injuries and other obstacles over the years) for our renewed (if still quite overgrown) first-team pathways for the Academy’s best and brightest.
Ruben, now 27, will continue his career at AC Milan — alongside fellow Academy grad Fikayo Tomori, as well as Olivier Giroud — joining on a four-year deal in exchange for £15m plus some minor add-ons.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek has signed for AC Milan. ✍️— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) June 30, 2023
So, Loftus-Cheek leaves after nearly two decades at Chelsea, completing every step up along the way and eventually collecting 155 first-team appearances — which I’m sure would’ve been a lot more were it not for that fateful May night in New England, when he tore his Achilles just prior to the Europa League final. That 2018-19 season showed a player who was ready to dominate at the highest level (including 10 of his 13 senior Chelsea goals), and even if he never reaches that ceiling now, hopefully he can find consistent success (and playing time) in Milan.
Best of luck, Ruben! We’ll be rooting for you!