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On the 22nd of February 2019, FIFA announced that Chelsea will be sanctioned for the next two transfer windows. The club was found to have breached article 19 and article 18bis—both of these articles relate to the transferring and signing of players under the age of 18. Chelsea then went to FIFA to appeal for the ban to be overturned.
On the 8th of May 2019, FIFA announced they had rejected Chelsea's appeal. Chelsea said they were "very disappointed." They will now appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport for the ban to be frozen.
Maurizio Sarri said it will "not be easy" to challenge Liverpool and Manchester City next season. He also added, "It's very difficult to cover the gap at the moment."
It seems this couldn't have come at a worse time for Chelsea, with Eden Hazard seemingly on his way out of Stamford Bridge. More bad news follows with two of Chelsea's brightest young stars—Callum Hudson Odoi and more recently, Ruben Loftus Cheek—both picking up long-term injuries.
However, regardless of all the negativity surrounding the club at the moment, there may be light at the end of the tunnel for Chelsea.
Chelsea's youth academy is world-renowned for producing world-class talent, however, Chelsea is also known to not be the most generous when it comes to giving youth players a first-team chance. Could the transfer ban be the pathway for Chelsea academy graduates onto the first team?
So who from Chelsea's "loan army" could we be seeing in the 2019/20 Premier League season?
Club: Derby County
Position: Centre Back
Season Appearances: 46
A rock at the heart of Frank Lampards defence, Tomori has helped lead his team to a sixth place finish in the championship and a playoff final spot against Aston Villa. Tomori was also named Derby's "Player of the Season."
Club: Aston Villa
Season Appearances: 39
Tammy Abraham had a very impressive season on loan at Aston Villa, scoring 26 goals and averaging a goal every 129 minutes, including scoring four against Nottingham Forest in November. He has also fired Aston Villa to a playoff final place against Frank Lampard's Derby.
Club: Wigan Athletic
Position: Right Back
Season Appearances: 45
Reece James has been brilliant for Wigan, in both right back and in midfield. He also won Wigan Athletic’s Player of the Year, the Players’ Player of the Year, and Goal of the Season. Wigan boss Paul Cook claimed, "He's player of the month every month, and he's man of the match almost every week."
Club: Derby County
Position: Attacking Midfielder
Season Appearances: 37
Another youngster snapped up by Chelsea legend and Derby boss Frank Lampard, Mount’s excellent start to the season earned him an unlikely call-up to the senior England squad. He had a few injury problems throughout the season, but ended on an impressive nine goals and four assists.
Position: Centre Back
Season Appearances: 32
Along with Michael Keane, Kurt Zouma was a rock in the heart of Everton's defence this season. With all the physical attributes and a keen eye for an interception. Still only 24, Zouma has plenty of potential and has been likened to fellow Frenchmen Raphael Varane.
Honourable mentions include:
- Tiemoue Bakayoko
- Michy Batshuayi
- Ola Aina
- Jay Dasilva
So with the above names mentioned and Christian Pulisic joining the club in the summer, could we finally be seeing Chelsea's famous youth academy become an integral part of the first team?
Or will the ban get overturned in time for Chelsea to go on a complete rebuild ahead of next season?