Former Blues Watch: Volume Two

In March’s Volume One of this irregular series, Fabio Borini headlined a wealth of former Blues making waves elsewhere in the 2011-12 season.

Volume Two starts with the young Italian as we take a look at the state of play with the summer transfer market in mind. Borini had been the subject of a speculated move to Liverpool to once again link up with Brendan Rodgers, but the likelihood of a deal took a big dent on Saturday.

With co-owners Parma and Roma unable to work out a deal before Friday afternoon’s deadline, the two clubs were obliged to submit ‘secret’ bids for the remaining 50% of Borini’s contract. Roma’s bid was bigger, and he will now stay at the Stadio Olimpico under new manager Zdenek Zeman.

Had Parma won the blind auction, Borini’s future may well have been elsewhere. The fact they didn’t suggests that there was no concrete interest from other clubs, who would have in essence fronted Parma’s bid with the assurances of a sale in turn.

Borini might not be on the move, but a number of former Blues have already secured new homes ahead of the 2012-13 season. Forward Frank Nouble, who left the academy in 2009 after rejecting professional terms, has signed for Wolves having been released by West Ham United.

Nouble struggled to break through at Upton Park and was farmed out on a succession of loans, and spoke of being happy to settle at a new club and hopefully find some stability in what has already been a scattered career.

Jacob Mellis has signed a two-year deal with Barnsley after three months without a club, having been released in March. He spent a successful half-season on loan at Oakwell in 2010-11 and has been welcomed back by the supporters, who were understandably delighted to have secured his services.

Joining him in The Championship is another former Chelsea midfielder, albeit a much older one. Jody Morris, now 33, returns to English shores after five years north of the border with St. Johnstone in Scotland to once again play under Derek McInnes at Bristol City.

The division has a healthy representation of Chelsea-developed central midfielders, with Liam Bridcutt developing excellently with Brighton, Andy King at Leicester City, and Danny Hollands making the jump from League One after winning the title at Charlton Athletic last season.

Hollands’ promotion exploits were matched at the top of the 2011-12 Championship, where each side ascending to the Premier League featured a former Blue. Shaun Cummings, Jack Cork and Carlton Cole will all hope to play against their former employers at Stamford Bridge next season having played key roles in helping their clubs reach the top flight.

Further down the ladder, Anthony Grant has left Southend United after four years in a bid to try his hand at a higher level. He has signed for Stevenage, who made the League One playoffs last season but are attempting to rebuild after former manager Graham Westley repeated previous tricks in returning to his old club to sign a host of familiar faces.

Goalkeeper Rhys Evans has returned from non-league football to sign for Exeter City, whilst fellow stopper and emergency Chelsea reserve team goalkeeper last season James Russell has moved from Canvey Island to Boreham Wood.

There’s been movement abroad as well, with veteran striker Sam Parkin signing for a third Scottish club in St. Mirren (having previously played for Queen of the South and St. Johnstone) and Spanish midfielder Sergio Tejera set to return to former club Espanyol after making the breakthrough at Real Mallorca.

Unfortunately, times are less certain for a group of players who are out of contract, and the likes of Mikael Forssell, Jon Harley, Kaby Djalo and Carl Magnay will be looking to attract suitors ahead of the new season.

Tom Taiwo will be doing the same after declining the offer of a new deal at Carlisle United in order to make life easier for his young family. In an in-depth interview with the local press Taiwo explained that it was a gamble he felt it was worth taking at an important period in his life, and offered an insight into the state of affairs in lower league football.

He should have little trouble in attracting interest, but the next step is the most important one for him, and for many of Chelsea’s former young players. We’ll drop in on them again later in the new season, but you can keep fully up to date on all things past, present at future at Stamford Bridge here at