Feeling the Blues: Ten former Chelsea men who shone elsewhere

Chelsea fans have been forced to look on in envy this season as former Blues players Mo Salah (Liverpool) and Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City) star for their respective clubs. 

A Champions League winner with Chelsea, Bertrand never truly got many first-team opportunities, and constantly lived in the shadow of his compatriot, Ashley Cole, during his time at the club.
Despite staying for a total of nine seasons at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea’s youth academy product made a mere 28 first team appearances for them, and mostly spent his time out on loan.
Bertrand is now at Southampton, where he has been a regular for many seasons, and was selected to be in the PFA Team of the Year during the 2014/15 league season for the Saints.

He also has 19 international caps for England.

Notable as one of the biggest transfer mishaps Jose Mourinho made in his time at Chelsea, Cuadrado was never truly afforded an opportunity to make his mark.
Signed in the winter of Chelsea’s title winning 2014/15 season, Mourinho never fully trusted in Cuadrado, despite the successful World Cup he had with Colombia the year before, along with his track record at previous employers Fiorentina.
Cuadrado moved on to Juventus in the summer of 2015 after making just 13 appearances for the Blues, where he played in a system that better suited his abilities.
He was part of the Juventus squad that won back to back domestic doubles between 2015 and 2017.

Signed in 2011 from Manchester City, where the prolific young Englishman spent his youth career, Sturridge spent four seasons at Chelsea, mostly fulfilling the role of a back-up striker.
Sturridge was finally awarded the chance of regular starts during the 2011/12 league season; scoring 11 goals in 30 appearances.
That proved to be a one off, as injuries limited his opportunities and he was sold to Liverpool in 2012.
Capped by England 26 times, Sturridge shone at Liverpool, forming a famous ‘SAS’ striking partnership with Luis Suarez under the guidance of then manager Brendan Rodgers. Sturridge returned consecutive double-digit goal hauls in 2012/13 and 2013/14.
Sadly, injuries came back to blight his career and Sturridge has since struggled to stay fit. He currently is on loan at West Bromwich Albion.

Jack Cork
Not as well-known as compared to the rest in this list, Cork was yet another product of Chelsea’s famed youth academy who failed to make the cut.
The defensive midfielder never got a chance in the first-team set-up during his five seasons at the club, and eventually left for Southampton in 2011.
There, he established himself as a solid and reliable midfielder, making over 100 appearances in four seasons, before moving on to Swansea.

Cork is now at Burnley, enjoying his football under Sean Dyche and has proven to be a solid signing for the Clarets.

Mohamed Salah interview | “I knew I’d score lots of goals!”

The Serbian midfield general was initially deemed too raw to make the grade at Stamford Bridge, leaving Chelsea in 2011, as part of a swap deal for David Luiz.
It was at Benfica where his career started to take flight, under the tutelage of then manager Jorge Jesus, who had the faith to instil Matic as a first-team regular.
Matic was indispensable to Benfica for three good seasons, where he won the Portuguese League title in 2014, before returning to Chelsea.
Matic played a bigger role at Chelsea in his second spell, and was surprisingly allowed to leave for Manchester United in the summer of 2017, where he is developing further under former manager Mourinho.

Romelu Lukaku
Lukaku was a gamble of a signing for Chelsea in 2011, at a fee reportedly close to £20 million (S$ 36.6 million).
Once again, it was a familiar story of Chelsea not affording a budding young talent a run of games with the first-team, as Lukaku only made 10 appearances in a Chelsea jersey without scoring a single goal.
He then had successful one-season loan spells at West Bromwich Albion and Everton, where he netted 17 and 15 goals respectively.
Yet, he failed to make the grade at Chelsea and was sold off to Everton, becoming their first choice striker.
Lukaku was the top scorer in the 2014/15 Europa League, before he joined his current club Manchester United, as he continues to score goals on a regular basis.

Kevin De Bruyne
The jewel in Guardiola’s crown at Manchester City, Kevin De Bruyne was first discovered by Chelsea scouts, and the club signed him from Belgian side Genk in 2012.
But, De Bruyne’s time in London was nothing short of a disaster, where he made just three appearances at Stamford Bridge, and was never truly given a legitimate opportunity by Mourinho.
And boy, has the Belgian proven his former manager wrong.
After steamrolling the Bundesliga with Werder Bremen and Wolfsburg, De Bruyne finally returned to the Premier League with Manchester City, where he is into his third season. He has developed into a very fine playmaker, a player some have even gone so far as to describe as the best midfielder in the world.

Mohamed Salah
Liverpool’s current golden boy, Salah was another player who did not live up to his full potentual during Mourinho’s tenure.
Only afforded a bit-part squad role in his time at Chelsea, the Egyptian forward scored a measly two goals during the 2013/14 season, before he was farmed out on loan to Roma, where he netted 14 and 15 goals in consecutive seasons.
This form attracted the interest of his current club, and a blistering return to the Premier League has seen Salah bag 21 league goals thus far, one behind top scorer Harry Kane.

Arjen Robben
Many may forget he used to play for Chelsea, given Robben’s achievements at Real Madrid and Bayern Munich.
The Dutchman was part of Mourinho’s first spell at Chelsea, where he won consecutive Premier League titles from 2004 to 2006.
However, it was not only till he left the club where he truly reached his potential.
After two seasons at the Bernabeu, the Dutch winger joined German powerhouses Bayern in 2009, and is into his ninth season at the club and counting.
With 93 goals to his name in 181 appearances, Robben has already etched his name into the Bavarians’ history books as a club legend.

Thorgan Hazard
Always viewed as in the shadow of his supremely talented brother Eden, Thorgan never made a single appearance for Chelsea, despite being signed together in the summer of 2012.
He was instantly loaned out to Belgian outfit Zulte Waregem, scoring 14 goals in a successful 2013/14 season, where he was named Belgian Player of the Year, ahead of Eden.

Thorgan sadly never got the chance to make his mark at Chelsea, and was eventually sold to Borussia Monchengladbach, where he is now an important first team player; scoring 17 goals in 97 appearances.

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