Chelsea’s mantra of shipping out their youth players, letting them go for pennies and bringing in hugely overpriced replacements doesn’t exactly scream of a healthy business model.
Since Roman Abrahmovich’s takeover in 2003 the Blues have spent, spent and spent a bit more to become arguably the biggest club in England.
But aside from the likes of club icons John Terry and Frank Lampard, academy products or young players have struggled for game time and been shipped out on loan as a result.
And after the departure of Nathaniel Chalobah to Watford on a permanent deal this week a truly shocking statistic has emerged.
England midfielder Chalobah was Chelsea’s longest-serving player until his move to Vicarage Road, which now means 24-year-old goalkeeper Matej Delac has assumed that mantel.
But not only has Delac endured just the NINE separate loan spells since joining Chelsea in 2010 – he’s also never played for them.
He moved to Stamford Bridge from Inter Zapresic in late 2010 and has since had temporary spells at none other than Vitesse (of course), Dynamo Ceske Budejovice, Vitoria de Guimaraes, Vitoria de Guimaraes II, Inter Zapresic, Vojvodina, Sarajevo, Arles-Avignon, Sarajevo again and Excel Mouscron.
In that time he’s made just 98 appearances at an average of around nine a season.
This season alone, with the departures of Chalobah – whose replacement Tiemoue Bakayoko cost £40m – and Tammy Abraham on loan, has demonstrated the Blues’ nasty habit in a nutshell.
Could Delac’s first game in a Chelsea shirt feasibly be his testimonial?