Four young Chelsea players put pen to paper on their first ever professional contracts on Monday morning.
Having returned from their summer break, Todd Kane, Archange Nkumu, Amin Affane and Jamal Blackman all secured themselves senior deals to train at the club full time.
It follows on from last summer’s group of eight first-time professionals and means that the vast majority of the club’s bright talents are now secured to deals for the medium to long term future.
Full back Kane and goalkeeper Blackman were youth team standouts last year, with the former progressing into the reserve team on a regular basis during the second half of the season.
Known as something of a long-range specialist, Kane’s sensational strike in the Reserve League Final against Blackburn Rovers back in May was one of the moments of the season.
Blackman, meanwhile, had a terrific campaign as a first year scholar and will be set for more reserve team football in 2011-12 with many of the younger stoppers ahead of him likely to head out on loan.
Both Nkumu and Affane also stepped up into Steve Holland’s team late last season and did themselves proud, with hard work and application paying off in abundance.
They each proved their versatility throughout the year too, with Affane playing in a number of midfield roles and at left back, whilst Nkumu – a natural centre half – also plied his trade in midfield on occasion.
With a healthy first year intake for the Under-18s this season, the quartet will be confident of making strides to the next level this season, and will all be looking forward to improving as they spend more time in and around the first team stars at Cobham.
Congratulations to all of them.