Six Chelsea players who were destined for greatness but failed as Barkley leaves

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Ross Barkley is available to sign for free after he ended his four-year spell with Chelsea and left the club on Monday.

The club confirmed Barkley has departed Stamford Bridge by mutual consent, ending his four-year spell with Chelsea after signing from Everton for £15million in 2018. He scored 12 goals and provided 11 assists in 100 appearances across all competitions, but played just twice for Chelsea in 2022.

Barkley is not the first player who once appeared destined for greatness before seeing their career stagnate after signing for Chelsea, joining the likes of Marco van Ginkel and Michy Batshuayi in that category.

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With that in mind, here are six Chelsea players who were highly tipped early on their career but failed to reach their potential.

Marco van Ginkel

Fresh from being named the best under-21 player in the Netherlands, Marco van Ginkel joined Chelsea from Vitesse Arnhem in 2013.

His career has since been repeatedly disrupted by a string of injuries, with the Dutch midfielder missing 38 matches after rupturing his cruciate ligament just two months after joining Chelsea.

Van Ginkel played just 97 minutes across four matches in eight years as a Chelsea player before he moved to PSV Eindhoven on a free transfer last summer. He was also loaned out no fewer than five times during his spell in west London.

Michy Batshuayi

After impressing in France with Marseille, Michy Batshuayi sealed a £35million move to Chelsea in 2016 at the age of 22.

The Blues had to fend off a number of other clothes to secure the Belgian forward, who had scored 33 goals in his 78 appearances for Marseille.

Six years on, though, Batshuayi has been loaned out five times since 2018, most recently spending last season in Turkey with Besiktas.

Batshuayi has not been named in a matchday squad by Thomas Tuchel yet this season but remains a Chelsea player at present, with his last goal for the club coming back in January 2020.

Alexandre Pato

Unlike most of the players on this list, Alexandre Pato's career had already appeared to be on the decline before his brief loan spell at Stamford Bridge in 2016.

Winner of the Golden Boy award aged 20 in 2009, the Brazilian forward had taken to European football with ease after signing for AC Milan two years prior.

However, injuries again proved to block Pato's path to continued success and he would return to his native Brazil in 2013 before spells in Spain, China and the USA since his brief stint with Chelsea three years later.

Now at MLS side Orlando City, the 32-year-old is currently sidelined with a knee injury.

Lucas Piazon

Another once promising Brazilian forward, Lucas Piazon signed for Chelsea on his 18th birthday in 2012, joining from Sao Paulo for £6.75million.

He would remain with the club for eight years but made just three first-team appearances during that time and was loaned out seven times to clubs in Spain, the Netherlands, Germany, England, Italy and Portugal.

After joining Braga on a free transfer in 2021, Piazon is currently on loan at Botafogo in Brazil until next summer.

Gael Kakuta

Signed as a 16-year-old from Lens in 2007, Gael Kakuta was another youngster loaned out multiple times after joining Chelsea as a teenager.

He played 16 times before departing in 2015, still aged just 23, but never scored a senior goal for Chelsea. Kakuta has since had a nomadic career path which has included spells in Spain and China before he returned to France in 2019.

After an initial loan spell, the Democratic Republic of Congo international returned to Lens in 2021 but has yet to feature for the club this season.

Marko Marin

Marko Marin was already a senior Germany international when he moved to Chelsea from Werder Bremen in 2012 for £7.2million.

Then aged 23, the versatile attacking midfielder made 16 appearances during his first season in England, but would fail to add to his tally during the remainder of his four years with Chelsea.

He was instead loaned out four times before being sold to Olympiacos in 2016. Marin went on to play in Serbia, Saudi Arabia and Hungary before retiring earlier this summer at the age of 33.

Since hanging up his boots, Marin has returned to former club Red Star Belgrade, where he is currently working as their head of scouting.

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