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CHELSEA FOCUS: Which Blues academy stars are heading towards the top?

Chelsea's youth academy has been churning out talented youngsters in recent years.

Sure, not all have gone on to make it just yet but kids need time and with the success CFC have achieved at youth level over the past few seasons, get ready to see some bright prospects pop up in the Blues senior squad soon.

Tribalfootball have shone the spotlight on the 2015/16 version of the CFC Academy to try and give you a better insight into what is happening at youth level in West London.

Trevoh Chalobah

The younger brother of past academy graduate Nathaniel, Trevoh Chalobah has been with Chelsea since signing for the U9s.

The 16-year-old mainly plays as a defender - either at right-back or in central defence - but can also be deployed in midfield much like his sibling who is currently on loan at Napoli.

Chalobah has captained both England and Chelsea at U16 level and was recently selected in the England U17 squad for next month's Algarve tournament which takes place between February 5 and 9 against hosts Portugal, Holland and Germany.

During the 2013/14 and 2014/15 seasons, Chalobah played 15 times for the U18s while making his U21s debut last season.

Clearly the youngster has brilliant leadership skills as he has already led the U18 side this term while being a regular for Joe Edwards' line-up for whom he has scored three goals in 14 outings plus appearing twice in the FA Youth Cup and four times in the UEFA Youth League so far in 2015/16.

Chalobah has taken a similar pathway to his brother and told that he plans to make the most of every opportunity afforded to him in the England youth setup

"Hopefully I can do the same as my brother," he said after captaining Steve Cooper's U17 team against Italy in the FA International Tournament in August last year.

"He did well and played at a young age. He has given me a bit of a advice. He's told me that a lot of people will be watching but once you get going it is a great experience and just to enjoy it all."

Kasey Palmer

A veteran of four youth trophies, Palmer has set himself a precedence for achieving success.

The 19-year-old attacking midfielder has a nose for goal and frequently hits the back of the net via his lethal right boot which can strike fear into the opposition defence.

Chelsea lured Palmer across London from Charlton Athletic as an U16 during the 2012/13 season and he has since been a hit for the Blues.

The England U18 international penned a pro deal in the summer of 2014 and is doing everything right to be integrated into the first team within the next year or so.

The man who claimed 'FIFA 16' made him look like a 6/10 (six out of ten) when he is really a 9/10, was responsible for scoring a 14-minute hat-trick against Liverpool in September and got the chance to pit himself against Chelsea's seniors in a training ground match in late December.

Palmer, who is under contract until the summer of 2017, can also be deployed on either a left or right wing making him attractive to coaches at both youth and senior level.

For a sneak peek of what Palmer is capable of, check out the highlights package below:

Jay Dasilva

Attacking full-back Dasilva has been a complete success in Chelsea's youth setup.

The 17-year-old has already helped the West London club win back-to-back FA Youth Cups in 2014 and 2015 while featuring prominently as they took out last season's UEFA Youth League.

After arriving from Luton Town's U13s, Dasilva has come on in leaps and bounds in the past few years to establish himself in the U21 side.

Dasilva was a regular in the U18 team over the past two campaigns before working his way into the U19s and then onto the 21s where he now finds himself deeply entrenched in Adi Viveash's plans.

The England U18 international, who signed a pro contract with Chelsea in July 2015, starred in the 5-1 hammering of Manchester United in the FA Youth Cup last week, even managing to get on the scoresheet with a deft right-footed chip.

Dasilva's development has been so sparkling that it prompted Arsenal great Ian Wright, after the Blues won the UEFA Youth League, to suggest the following on Twitter: “Jay da silva left back better player than any current prem left-back."

If you don't understand Wrighty's tech talk, that translates to something like: 'Jay Dasilva is a better left-back than any current left-back in the Premier League.'

Wright's opinion is certainly not too far-fetched as Dasilva is being widely tipped to step into the left-back role at senior level, allowing Cesar Azpilicueta to switch to his natural right-back position.

Ola Aina

The classy defender was a key part of the 2014 and 2015 back-to-back FA Youth Cup-winning teams and has kicked on to be an integral player for the U19s and U21s again this season.

Aina has showed so much in his youth academy career that Chelsea's London rivals Arsenal are already on his trail and have been linked with him as recently as mid-January.

The 19-year-old right-back had been training with the seniors at Cobham but reports suggest he was demoted back to the U21s after refusing to sign a new deal. That's the word from anyway.

The fact the Gunners are even considering the youngster, when they have Hector Bellerin and Mathieu Debuchy plus Carl Jenkinson on loan at West Ham United, suggests this is a man of substance and quality.

Aina grabbed the headlines on January 28 when he scored an absolute stunner from halfway in the 5-2 win over Tottenham Hotspur - another thing to endear him to the Gunners - harnessing his inner David Beckham to score form 50 yards.

Chelsea will be hoping they can sort out a new deal for Aina, who is out of contract in the summer, as he has apparently been disillusioned by his current situation in West London and may look elsewhere for first team opportunities.

His versatility at being able to play all over the back four makes him invaluable at youth level and he is sure to take the next step if given the chance, whether that be in a blue shirt or not.

Tammy Abraham

This guys scores goals for fun. Seriously.

18-year-old striker Abraham plundered 41 of them for all three youth grades last season, 32 of which came in 26 U18 league outings.

This campaign has been no different for the two-time FA Youth Cup and UEFA Youth League winner who has already notched 21 goals this season, including eight in the league, seven in five European appearances and four in the FA Youth Cup campaign

Abraham has the ability to produce top quality finishes, as evidenced by the following goal scored in the 5-1 FA Youth Cup win over United.

An England U19 representative, Abraham has an enormous potential that needs to be nurtured closely by Viveash and his coaching staff.

In a similar mould to Dom Solanke, who is enjoying a loan spell in Holland with Vitesse Arnhem, Abraham has the ability to become a top quality striker at senior level but will take time and care to develop into a player who can regularly score goals in the Premier League and Champions League.

Judging by the highlights video below, he has all the ingredients to do so.

Charly Musonda

Charly Musonda Jr - the son of former Zambia international and Anderlecht midfielder Charles Musonda - arrived at Chelsea alongside brothers Tika and Lamisha in 2012.

Since then, the Brussels-born midfielder has taken all before him at junior level with the Blues.

He has lifted the 2013/14 U21 Premier League title and the same FA Youth Cups and UEFA Youth League trophy as Dasilva and Abraham in what has been a brilliant start to life in West London.

Musonda mixed his time between all three age groups of the academy last season, playing 21 times for the U21 team, and has kicked on in 2015/16 by being an evergreen in the league for Viveash.

The young Belgian has been much talked about in recent times.

Widely labelled as a 'wonderkid', Musonda has been linked with a number of clubs this winter as reports hinting at a potential loan move continue to linger. Spanish club Real Betis appear set to land him according to a Tweet from Ola Aina but as of yet, the deal has not been confirmed.

There have also been suggestions that he is already valued at £10million and has attracted interest from Arsenal, Manchester United and Manchester City.

All this indicates to any outsider looking in that he indeed has the footballing world at his feet.

Musonda has such a bright future that the Chelsea media team produced a 4-minute video dedicated to his talents.

It is there for all to see that he has the ability. Now he just needs to be given the time and space to grow into the player that everybody expects he should be.

Bertrand Traore

Arguably the most well-known name in the Chelsea youth academy is Bertrand Traore.

The 20-year-old attacking midfielder has already represented Burkina Faso on 24 occasions which is a sublime effort considering he has only made four appearances for the Blues seniors.

Traore spent around 18 months on loan with Dutch club Vitesse Arnhem from January 2014 to the summer of 2015 when he was having his UK work permit sorted out and gained precious first team experience at the GelreDome.

The former Auxerre youngster played 51 times in all competitions for Vitesse, scoring 20 goals and providing seven assists, in what was a sparkling stint in the eastern part of the Netherlands.

Since being back at Cobham, Traore has received said work permit, been given the number 14 shirt by the Blues, and gone on to make his Premier League debut which came in early December against Bournemouth. He has also made his Champions League, Capital One Cup and FA Cup debuts this season as well.

In a 40-minute cameo in the the League Cup clash with Stoke City in late October, Traore came close to scoring on at least three occasions and was also placed on free-kick duties at one point in a team featuring such names as Eden Hazard, Willian and Oscar.

Now this is testament to his unbridled potential.

By far one of the most exciting players to come out of the Chelsea youth setup in quite some time, Traore is unfortunately the subject of an investigation by FIFA, pertaining to the fact he played in an U18 match against Arsenal in 2011 despite not being registered to do so.

Regardless of that, he is a player full of talent and ability who has already been followed by German giants Borussia Dortmund who recently made an offer for an 18-month loan.

Interest from the likes of Ajax, Hamburg and Marseille suggests he is a player high in demand who certainly has a bright future, wherever it may lay.

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Andrew Slevison
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