Chelsea have earned a reputation for sending out young players on loan and selling them for a profit later on. This could soon change, after how Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Callum Hudson-Odoi have managed to attract attention globally for their fantastic outings for the club this season.
A lot of young players join the Blues with the hope of working their way up to the first team but life has not been easy for youth at Chelsea despite the phenomenal success their age-group teams have enjoyed.
In the last ten years, Chelsea's academy team has won the FA Youth Cup twice and the UEFA Youth League seven times. The Blues' last four Academy Player of the Year winners - Dominic Solanke, Fikayo Tomori, Mason Mount and Reece James - are putting their skills to use at other clubs.
While Solanke left to join Liverpool, Mount and Tomori had an excellent season at Derby County with the latter picking up their Player of the Year award. Reece James also received the same recognition after a terrific season at Wigan Athletic. But will they be allowed to have a fair shot at the Chelsea first team?
That is where the success of Loftus-Cheek, despite his struggle with a back injury, makes a statement. The 23-year-old found minutes hard to come by at the start of the season, with Maurizio Sarri repeatedly praising his potential but demanding tactical improvement from the midfielder. He listened to his boss, put in the work that was needed and the end result was a midfielder who can make an impact for his team.
His recent performances have been mighty impressive. He has six goals from five starts in the league and three goals from six starts in the UEFA Europa League. He put in a fantastic shift against BATE in the Europa League group stage to grab his first Chelsea hat-trick and hasn't looked back since.
While the hype surrounding Hudson-Odoi is justified, Loftus-Cheek has become one of the best players at Chelsea this season. If you are a young footballer who aspires to play for the Chelsea first team someday, Loftus-Cheek is the avant-courier for the talented Chelsea youth.