Friday saw the Premier League publish their official Released and Retained lists for the end of the 2011-12 season and in doing so all but confirmed the departures of five Chelsea players.
Didier Drogba’s exit has already been announced and is the most high-profile free agent in the game. He’ll be joined by Salomon Kalou and Jose Bosingwa, whilst two reserve team players will also depart at the end of their contracts.
Swedish forward Marko Mitrovic turns 20 at the end of next month and after a career in London which has largely been beset by injuries, he will be moving on.
Academy top scorer during the FA Youth Cup winning 2009-10 season with 16 goals, Mitrovic often looked very good as the lone striker in a 4-3-3 formation, proving adept at occupying two defenders and being able to finish off either foot and with his head.
Unfortunately, he just wasn’t able to stay fit, as after three different medium term injuries in his first season at the club, he missed most of the 2010-11 campaign with an ankle ligament problem before being absent for much of the last ten months.
Earlier this year, former club Malmo invited him to return to the club in a pre-season training camp, but they extended the offer to all of their former academy players who have departed without making progress elsewhere. There is no great indication where he may end up but a return to his homeland would be amongst the favourite options.
Also leaving is Welsh goalkeeper Rhys Taylor, who moves on in search of regular first team football after proving himself more than capable in League Two over the last two seasons at Crewe Alexandra and Rotherham United respectively.
Taylor, now 22, has long been highly rated in the goalkeeping fraternity and has occasionally served as third-choice goalkeeper for the first team, working with Christophe Lollichon, Petr Cech and others.
However, with Cech showing little sign of slowing down and a host of other alternatives making waves, it’s been a long and uphill task for him to impress at Stamford Bridge and he has reportedly agreed terms with his new club, but is yet to confirm their identity.
He made the trip to the United States with Chris Coleman’s senior Wales squad this last week to play Mexico but remained an unused sub, as he did against Georgia as a teenager some years ago.
Also released but not included on the Premier League’s documents is second-year scholar Reece Loudon. Another who struggled with injuries in the last two seasons, the left sided player spent six weeks on loan at Potters Bar Town in early 2012 and most recently played in a trial match for Inverness Caledonian Thistle.
Everyone at TheChels wishes the six all the best of luck in the future. You can read Tweedy’s homage to the legendary Drogba HERE and over the next month there will be appropriate content for fellow European Champions Bosingwa and Kalou.