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Ex-Chelsea stars have left the Blues to become world-class, from Kevin De Bruyne to Mo Salah and Declan Rice

Every time Kevin De Bruyne or Mohamed Salah feature in a Man of the Match performance, Chelsea fans are affected by ‘what could have happened’.

Unfortunately for Blues supporters, those two are now undisputed world superstars.

De Bruyne has developed into the best midfielder on the planet since leaving Chelsea

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De Bruyne has developed into the best midfielder on the planet since leaving ChelseaCredit: AFP – Getty

But, before reaching the current elite level, they were once allowed to leave Stamford Bridge as incompetent, underperforming young players.

And they are not the only two.

We have reviewed SEVEN players who could star for manager Thomas Tuchel had they not failed at Chelsea before becoming superstars elsewhere:

KEVIN DE BRUYNE

NOW possibly the best midfielder on the planet, it is hard to believe that De Bruyne is a Chelsea misnomer.

Signed from Belgium’s Genk in 2011-12, the Manchester City star has played just two Premier League games for the Blues.

On the periphery of the first team, De Bruyne was loaned to Werder Bremen, before being sold to Wolfsburg for just £16.7m.

There, De Bruyne’s class shined and his career flourished, having joined City for £55m in 2015.

The passer easily won three Premier League titles with City during the club’s greatest era.

MOHAMED SALAH

SALAH joined Chelsea from Basel in 2014 – but played just 13 times in the league, scoring twice.

In 2015 and 2016, the Egyptian was loaned to Fiorentina and Roma – before joining permanently, in a deal worth around £11m.

After just one season in the Italian capital, Liverpool surprised Salah by bringing Salah back to the Premier League in a £36.7m deal.

In his first season with the Red Devils, Salah broke the record for most Premier League goals in a 38-match season.

In his second campaign, he won the Champions League.

And for the third time, Salah inspired Liverpool to Premier League success.

Salah is now easily ranked as one of the best strikers in the world – and always will be the one leaving Chelsea.

Salah has gone from strength to strength since leaving Chelsea

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Salah has gone from strength to strength since leaving ChelseaCredit: AFP or licensors

DECLAN RICE

The England international and his family are both Blues giants and he must have thought he was well on his way to achieving his childhood dream of playing for them when he was signed. with their academy.

But the midfielder was introduced by Chelsea in 2013 at the age of 14.

The determined star was not discouraged, after a successful test, he was quickly captured by West Ham.

Rice has not looked back since and has progressed through the ranks in East London and made it into their first team at the end of the 2016-17 season.

He is now a featured performer for The Hammers almost weekly, winning international recognition with the Three Lions last year after switching allegiance out of Ireland and captaining the team in Mark Noble’s absence.

Those performances caught the eye of a number of big boys, including Manchester United, but it was Chelsea who desperately wanted him back.

Declan Rice was launched by Chelsea at the age of 14 but is now a star at West Ham

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Declan Rice was launched by Chelsea at the age of 14 but is now a star at West HamCredit: News Group Newspaper Ltd

ROMELU LUKAKU

After joining Chelsea from Anderlecht as a youngster in 2011, Lukaku was hailed for greatness.

However, he made just 10 appearances in the Premier League, was loaned to West Brom and eventually sold to Everton.

Lukaku immediately showed his potential and scored 53 Premier League goals in just 110 games.

The Belgian moved to Manchester United in a £75m deal, where he maintains a good, but generally poor, goalscoring record.

Then he finally shined at Inter Milan, inspiring Antonio Conte’s side to win the Serie A title last season.

And it was Chelsea’s regret to lose him… they bought him back! Spent almost £100m in the summer to re-sign the superstar centre-back.

Romelu Lukaku is back at Chelsea

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Romelu Lukaku is back at ChelseaCredit: Getty

NATHAN AKE

The Dutch defender joined Chelsea’s youth team from Feyenoord in 2011, before moving to the senior squad a year later.

But Ake made just seven appearances for the Blues in the Premier League and was loaned out to Reading, Watford and Bournemouth.

Ake eventually found a permanent home on the south coast and became a star for the Cherries.

Bournemouth fought hard to keep Ake for three years – during which he made more than 100 appearances in the Premier League.

But with Manchester United and City both beating, the Cherries ended up raking in £40m after they were relegated in the summer.

Now at the Etihad, Ake is a star of both Man City and Pep Guardiola’s Dutch European side, who can only seem to shine as time goes on.

Ake is a star of Man City and the Netherlands regularly left Chelsea in 2017

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Ake is a star of Man City and the Netherlands regularly left Chelsea in 2017Credit: Reuters

NEMANJA MATIC

SIGNED from now-defunct Slovakian side Kosice in 2009, Matic was highly regarded as a superstar attacking midfielder at the Blues.

The Serbian midfielder has only played twice in the Premier League and was loaned to Vitesse in the Netherlands.

But after two years – and into a more defensive role – Matic was sold to Benfica as part of the 2011 deal that saw David Luiz arrive at Stamford Bridge.

But after being a guest at Benfica, Chelsea spent £21m – almost 20 times what they initially bought – to re-sign him in 2014.

Matic then joined Man Utd in 2017 – where he still plays to this day.

Nemanja Matic left and joined Chelsea for nearly 20 times the original fee

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Nemanja Matic left and joined Chelsea for nearly 20 times the original feeCredit: Getty – Pool

TARIQ LAMPTEY

The full-back is another full-back who left after he left Chelsea in 2020.

He joined their academy at the age of eight and won a string of titles alongside the likes of Tammy Abraham and Reece James as they progressed through the youth levels.

Tariq Lamptey has suggested he should leave Chelsea to take his career to the next level. The 20-year-old is a product of the Blues’ youth development system, joining the club at the age of eight.

Lamptey was promoted to the first team of the Blues in 2019 after the appearance of Lampard in the training camp.

But he has not received as much game time as some other academy graduates, making only one Premier League appearance for the club last season.

Brighton replaced Lamptey and Chelsea were happy to do business and bought the youngster for £4m on the deadline day.

But since then, he has blossomed for the Seagulls with a string of stunning performances, leading to speculation that he might even be on the verge of a senior international call-up.

Arsenal have been linked with a star hunt, who Chelsea have been unable to offer as part of his exit, but he committed his future to Brighton at the start of the year. now by signing a new long-term contract.

Explaining his decision to leave Chelsea, he said: “I had to consider where I would be playing the most and how I could take my game to the next level.

“I sat down with the coaches, family members and agents and thought about what was best for me. It was a really difficult decision.”

Tariq Lamptey has blossomed in Brighton since he left Chelsea

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Tariq Lamptey has blossomed in Brighton since he left ChelseaCredit: Getty

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https://www.the-sun.com/sport/football/premier-league/1703498/chelsea-ex-stars-salah-de-bruyne-rice/ Ex-Chelsea stars have left the Blues to become world-class, from Kevin De Bruyne to Mo Salah and Declan Rice

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