With a new year fast approaching, we take a look at the 5 players that Chelsea fans should keep an eye-out for in 2014.
5): Thorgan Hazard - 20-years-old - midfielder
Eden Hazard's brother was originally dismissed as a 'gimmick' signing in the past, one that was made to ensure that Eden would sign a long-term deal at the club.
In many ways the loan move this season was going to either make or break him. However, he has performed that well, it certainly seems like it's given him a platform to now go on to play in Chelsea's first-team. In fact, the player has impressed that much in his native country, he is now in-line for a World Cup call-up in Brazil.
He really could be an exciting talent and former Premier League manager Owen Coyle was singing his praises before the game in the Europa League, calling him a real top player
4): Lucas Piazon - 19-years-old - midfielder
Another player that has embraced his loan spell this season, and could very much be a big part of the Chelsea set-up next season is Lucas Piazon.
The Brazilian midfielder has been the stand-out player in the Eredivisie this season, outclassing much more reputable opponents along the way. 10 goals and 8 assists have had Dutch fans purring over his ability, and it could just be the start of the player.
If Vitesse keep up their current form, along with Piazon - there is a good chance that come the end of the season, he could be lifting the Eredivisie trophy and would be heavily back for the Eredivisie Player of the Year award.
That would be quite an achievement for a player starting out in his footballing carrer.
3): Marco Van Ginkel - 21-year-old - Midfielder
A strange one as he was tipped to play a part this season, but unfortunately has been put out through ligament damage.
Still a very young player, Van Ginkel has already a bright reputation with Chelsea fans and will be looking to repay that faith when he comes back from injury. He has be lauded as a very competent midfielder, both offensively and defensively, showing incredible versatility.
The player has been on the fringes of the first-team of the Dutch national team and this injury will hurt him as he is unlikely to be fully fit for the World Cup in Brazil, which is a huge shame for the player - but, is heavily tipped to be involved in France 2016 (injuries permitting)
2): Thibaut Courtois - 21-year-old - Goalkeeper
Belgian goalkeeper Courtois is deinitely one to keep an eye on over the summer, with several rumours flying around, Chelsea fans will be hoping it's a case of 'the one that got away'
There is a big decision going to be made in 2014 regarding Courtois, either back him as number one or sell him to another club. Petr Cech has be a fantastic servant to the club, but the time is right to give this young man a chance between the sticks. He will be 22 going into next season, and with 2 years of impressive first-team football already, i feel it would be a disaster for Chelsea to let him go.
1): Romelu Lukaku - 20-years-old - Striker
Another one in a similar boat to countryman Thibaut, in the sense that 2014 will be a big year for him, one way or another.
Lukaku has become one of the most feared strikers in the league over the past 2 season, and was even crowed the most prolific goalscorer in Premier League history not to long ago. There is absolutely no question over his ability to play week in, week out for the very best, and against the very best, but will that be with Chelsea?
The rift between Mourinho and Lukaku stop a potential Chelsea legend going on to write his name in the history books of Stamford Bridge, and there would be no bigger tragedy than that in 2014.
But, I guess we will have to wait and find out!
image: © wshjackson
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