As Lewis Bate nears a move to Leeds United, Chelsea must reflect on the highs and lows of their esteemed development set-up.

Goal reported earlier today that Bate was on the verge of signing for Marcelo Bielsa’s side, after rejecting a new contract from the Blues.

Permitted the 18-year-old leaves Stamford Bridge, he will be the latest off the Cobham construction line to seek greener pastures.

Chelsea U18 v Everton U18 - FA Youth Cup Fifth Round
(Photo by Clive Howes – Chelsea FC/Chelsea FC via Getty Images)

Marc Guehi, Fikayo Tomori, and Billy Gilmour have all departed Chelsea this summer, although the latter is only on a season-long loan with Norwich City.

Guehi and Tomori signed for Crystal Palace and AC Milan respectively on permanent deals.

Valentino Livramento and Myles Peart-Harris are also edging closer to transfers out of their boyhood club.

Peart-Harris is set to sign for Brentford, whilst Livramento has been linked to Southampton, Brighton & Hove Albion, and Aston Villa.

Chelsea U18 v Everton U18: FA Youth Cup
(Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

Tammy Abraham is constantly being tipped for a different destination each week.

Add Bates to that list and Chelsea are going to be losing a massive chunk of their academy products.

Yes and the nos

The Blues are notorious for sending their youth players out on loan, to gain experience before heading back to London.

Take Mason Mount, Reece James, Andreas Christensen, and Abraham as prime examples.

For that, they deserve credit for continuing to produce excellent talents who are making it in the big time.

Manchester City v Chelsea FC - UEFA Champions League Final
(Photo by Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images)

The fact top Premier League outfits are continuously interested in their pupils is indication enough of how highly the organisation is valued.

However, with this new wave of prodigies actively seeking a way out of the system, there should be some concerns from Chelsea’s hierarchy.

According to The Athletic, this is certainly being felt from the powers upstairs.

Young stars no longer see a path into the first team when they once might have done.

Presentation of the 2019/2020 Premier League 2 Trophy to Chelsea
(Photo by Clive Howes – Chelsea FC/Chelsea FC via Getty Images)

This is seemingly one of the reasons Bate did not want to join Liverpool, as he doesn’t want to simply be thrown back in Under-21s football.

Under Frank Lampard, that gateway was apparently the best it had ever been, highlighted by the number of individuals earning a break with the seniors.

Now, that route feels a little rocky, especially if Chelsea goes big again in the transfer market.

For now, the business model is working, but before too long, the Blues might find themselves in red hot water without a paddle.

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