Chelsea’s young midfielder Billy Clifford yesterday signed a new four-year deal to keep him at Stamford Bridge until 2015.
The versatile 18 year-old, who can also play at full-back, put pen to paper on a deal which will extend his career at a club he has been at since the age of eight.
Clifford was one of four youngsters who went on the first team tour of Asia and has impressed in the last twelve months with his technical and mental development. His deal had been set to run until 2013 but he can now press on with the next step of his career and perhaps look to go out in loan in the new year.
He follows Ryan Bertrand and Josh McEachran in lengthening their stays at the club this summer, whilst Patrick van Aanholt, Gael Kakuta and Jacob Mellis all did so during the course of last season.
Whether or not they make the grade at Chelsea, the club has positioned themselves accordingly to make the best of whatever stage of development their current youth crop are able to reach.
It is also set to kick off a few months of important negotiations for a number of other teenagers at the club who are in the final year of their deals. Goalkeepers Rhys Taylor and Sam Walker, midfielders Kaby and Conor Clifford, and forward Marko Mitrovic and all will be hoping to make a lasting impression in search of the direction in which they will go next.