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All the young Blues: Chukwuemeka, Slonina and Chelsea's recent history of teenage transfers

4:14 PM MYT 03/08/2022
Chelsea teens Courtois Chukwuemeka Lukaku
The club's previous record in bringing in young players is mixed - but does include some future superstars

Chelsea have not had it all their own way in the transfer market this summer, as their failed pursuits of Jules Kounde and Raphinha demonstrate.

However, the Blues can finally chalk up one in the win column after they beat Milan and Barcelona to the signing of Aston Villa prospect Carney Chukwuemeka.

Rangy midfielder Chukwuemeka comes with glowing reviews and finished 37th in GOAL's 2022 ranking of the best wonderkids in the world.

Confirmation of that agreement was soon followed by another young arrival - Chicago Fire goalkeeper Gabriel Slonina.

Chelsea have a history of chancing their arm on precocious young talent, with mixed results.

GOAL has taken a look back through the history book to remember some of the other fresh-faced teenagers who arrived Stamford Bridge before their 20th birthday.

  • Glen-Johnson-2004

    Glen Johnson (West Ham) £6m

    First up on the list is former England international Johnson, who moved across London to Chelsea from West Ham for £6m in July 2003.

    The 18-year-old was the first confirmed signing of Roman Abramovich's ownership and he made 71 appearances for the Blues over the next four years, picking up a Premier League winners' medal along the way.

    Johnson left Chelsea to join Portsmouth in 2007 in search of more regular minutes, and went on to play for Liverpool before retiring in 2019.

  • Mikel-Chelsea-2006

    Jon Obi Mikel (Lyn Oslo) - £18m

    Jon Obi Mikel joined Chelsea from Norwegian outfit Lyn Oslo in the summer of 2006 after a controversial year-long legal battle that saw him perform a U-turn after initially being presented as a Manchester United player.

    The fresh-faced 19-year-old quickly became a key player for the Blues under Jose Mourinho and went on to win two Premier League titles and the Champions League with the club, before eventually departing in 2017.

  • Sturridge-2009

    Daniel Sturridge (Manchester City) Free transfer

    Chelsea snapped Daniel Sturridge up on a free transfer on July 3, 2009 - three days after the expiration of his contract at City, where he had spent the first three years of his career.

    Sturridge scored a respectable 24 goals in 96 games for the Blues despite rarely getting much of a run in the starting XI, and became a Premier League and Champions League winner before being shipped off to Liverpool for £12m in 2013.

  • Courtois-2010

    Thibaut Courtois (Genk) £7m

    Chelsea paid just £7m to sign 19-year-old Courtois from Belgian outfit Genk in July 2011, and immediately sent him out on loan to Atletico Madrid.

    Courtois established himself among the goalkeeping elite during his two-year stay in Madrid, winning a Liga title and playing in a Champions League final before returning to England ahead of the 2014-15 season.

    The shot-stopper then nailed down the No.1 spot in Chelsea's starting XI and helped them win two Premier League titles along with the FA Cup and League Cup, but ended up forcing through a move to Real Madrid in 2018.

  • Lukaku-2011

    Romelu Lukaku (Anderlecht) £14m

    Lukaku announced himself as one of the most talented young players in Europe during his two-year stint at Anderlecht, who he fired to the Belgian Pro League title in 2009-10 by scoring 15 goals.

    The striker netted another 20 across all competitions the following season, earning a £14 million move to Chelsea in the process, but he was ultimately unable to make his mark on the first team.

    After failing to score in just 15 senior outings across three years, he was sold to Everton, but did return to Chelsea in a club-record £98m ($119m) deal from Inter last summer.

  • Christensen-Chels-2014

    Andreas Christensen (Brondby) Free transfer

    Christensen was only 15 years old when Chelsea snapped him up from Brondby in February 2015.

    The Danish defender was officially unveiled by the west London club that summer, but had to wait until October 2014 to make his senior debut in a League Cup clash with Shrewsbury Town.

    Christensen was then loaned to Borussia Monchengladbach, where he gained vital experience playing regularly in the Bundesliga, and he returned to Chelsea in 2017 ready to make his mark.

    The centre-back appeared in a total of 160 games for the Blues, winning five trophies, but decided to run down his final contract and joined Barcelona on a free transfer in July 2022.

  • Thorgan-Hazard-2012

    Thorgan Hazard (Lens) £450,000

    Hazard moved to Chelsea from Lens in July 24, shortly after seeing his brother Eden join the Blues from Lille.

    The winger was immediately sent out on loan to Zulte Waregem in Belgium, and a loan spell at Borussia Monchengladbach followed as he was unable to force his way into the first team picture at Stamford Bridge.

    While his older sibling was earning a reputation among the top attackers on the continent, Thorgan was eventually sold to Gladbach in 2015, where he stayed for another four years before joining Borussia Dortmund.

  • Zouma-2014

    Kurt Zouma (Saint-Etienne) £13m

    Zouma signed for Chelsea in a £13m deal back in January 2014, and joined up with his new team-mates that summer after seeing out his final season at Saint-Etienne on loan.

    The Frenchman won five trophies at Stamford Bridge, including two Premier League titles and the Champions League, and managed 151 appearances across his seven-year spell with the Blues before he was sold to West Ham for £30m ($36m) last summer.

  • Gabriel Slonina Chelsea unveiling 2022

    Gabriel Slonina (Chicago Fire) £12.3m

    Slonina became the latest teenage prospect to be unveiled at Chelsea on August 2, 2022, as he arrived on a six-year contract from American outfit the Chicago Fire.

    The 18-year-old is set to head back to Chicago on loan to see out the remainder of the 2022 MLS season, but will be integrated into the Blues' first-team ranks in the new year.

    Slonina has been earmarked as one for the future after an impressive start to his career, having become the youngest starting MLS player in history when making his debut for the Chicago Fire in August 2021.

  • Carney Chukwuemeka Aston Villa 2021-22

    Carney Chukwuemeka (Aston Villa) £20m

    Chelsea pulled off one of the surprise moves of the 2022 summer transfer window by announcing a deal for Aston Villa midfielder Chukwuemeka.

    The 18-year-old is now set to move to west London for £20m, bringing to an end his five-year stay at Villa Park.

    Chukwuemeka broke into Villa's first team in 2021-22, making 14 appearances in all competitions, and Chelsea fans will hope he can deliver on his considerable potential in the coming years.