'Wow factor': 26-year-old claims he thinks player Sarri sold at Chelsea is good enough to join Barcelona
Jordan Houghton named Charly Musonda and Jeremie Boga as two of the best academy talents he worked with whilst still a Chelsea player.
Speaking to Goal, Houghton lifted the lid on what it was like to feature alongside the numerous stars who have been constructed in Cobham’s school of excellence.
The 26-year-old joined Chelsea as a child in 2003 but never once made an appearance for the first team.
Like so many who have walked down the same path, the majority of his career was spent out on loan whilst still tied to the Blues.
He ended a nearly two-decade relationship with the Stamford Bridge family when MK Dons signed him permanently in 2018.
Houghton then joined Plymouth Argyle last summer, the team Chelsea will be facing this Saturday in the FA Cup fourth round.
Houghton’s former co-workers
If selected, the midfielder could well face several of the stars he rubbed shoulders with whilst still wearing blue.
“I played a bit with (Mason) Mount and Reece James and Callum Hudson-Odoi, who were in the age groups below and trained with Romelu Lukaku, of course,” said the Plymouth man.
“(Ruben) Loftus-Cheek was with me through from Under-9s in midfield and he was always a top player.
“Andreas Christensen came in at 15, 16 and he was another top, top player who oozed class and calmness. A very quiet lad but you don’t need to be bellowing or shouting to be a top player.”
Tammy Abraham and Dominic Solanke were also teammates of Houghton.
Yet, despite this rather illustrious list, two nearly forgotten figures earned an extra special mention.
“But the one who always stuck out for me was Charly Musonda; he was probably the best in terms of wow factor,” continued Houghton.
“He had quick feet and would do things no one else could do. It’s such a shame that he has had a tough time with injuries and is due to leave in the summer. It is disappointing to see.
“He did come close at one point after coming back on loan, making a few appearances and then getting injured.
“Jeremie was always, from 14, 15, one of the best players. He had that wow factor of dribbling past players effortlessly.
“You always knew he’d reach the top and I wouldn’t be surprised if he joins a Barcelona in a few years because that’s the kind of player that he is.”
The Blues who have waved goodbye
Musonda is a perfect example of hero to zero.
As Houghton mentioned, the Belgian was one of the brightest pupils to emerge from Chelsea’s development system.
Yet, a string of loans and then a near-profession-ending injury pretty much put a pin in his dreams of representing the European champions.
He was released by the club last year and is still looking for a footballing home.
Boga, meanwhile, has enjoyed a far more prosperous journey since leaving South West London.
After a few loan stints across the continent, the 25-year-old signed for Sassuolo in 2018, where he would play over 100 times before moving to Atalanta for the current campaign.
His one and only competitive outing for Chelsea was an 18-minute Premier League cameo against Burnley in 2017.
Thankfully, the likes of Mount, James, Hudson-Odoi and Christensen are still flying the flag for the academy, whilst Boga, Musonda and Houghton are examples of what could’ve been.