Mason Mount next? Ranking all eight academy products to swap Big Six clubs
Mason Mount looks increasingly likely to leave Chelsea this summer, with Todd Boehly apparently unwilling to budge on a contract that will take the England international straight into his pension.
Both Liverpool and Manchester United are thought to be courting the 24-year-old, who would become one of a select group of Big Six academy products to move to a Big Six rival. We’ve ranked those that have come before, from worst move to best.
8) Rohan Ricketts (Arsenal to Tottenham)
Y’know, Rohan, The Big R, ol’ soft bones, the Ricketts of Rohan. He made one League Cup appearance for Arsenal before moving to Tottenham on a free transfer in 2002, ahead of a further 17 years in professional football playing for Coventry, Wolves, QPR, Barnsley, Toronto, Diosgyor, Dacia, Wilhelmshaven, Shamrock Rovers, Exeter City, Dempo SC, Quevedo, PTT Rayong, Eastern, Abahani Ltd and Leatherhead FC.
How The Athletic haven’t done 20,000 words on the life and times of Rohan is beyond us.
7) Dominic Solanke (Chelsea to Liverpool)
Liverpool signed the man who would become their record Premier League goalscorer in the summer of 2017. No, it wasn’t Dominic Solanke, but it’s fun to imagine some thinking it would be him over Mohamed Salah if they were told at the time.
Solanke in fact scored one Premier League goal for Liverpool, on the last day of his only full season for the club, before being sold for a hefty profit to Bournemouth. Decent business, that.
6) Danny Welbeck (Manchester United to Arsenal)
Moved to the Emirates in 2014 after his best goalscoring season for Manchester United because he was “playing on the left wing a lot in a 4-4-2” and had very little hope of ousting either Robin van Persie or Wayne Rooney up top.
He scored a hat-trick in Arsenal’s second Champions League group game in his first season, at a time when he was also banging in goals for fun for England – he scored six in five European qualification matches.
But he never asserted himself as the main man at Arsenal – not that anyone really expected him to – and looks far more at home as the old hand of Brighton.
5) Shaun Wright-Phillips (Manchester City to Chelsea)
Before Nottingham Forest fans get their knickers in a twist, Wright-Phillips was really their youth product, but makes this list as he graduated into the Manchester City first team from their under-18s.
After 11 Premier League goals under the stewardship of Kevin Keegan in 2004/05, Chelsea snapped Wright-Phillips up for £30m before he returned to City three years later with just a further four Premier League goals to his name. Arjen Robben, Damien Duff and Joe Cole meant minutes were hard to come by.
4) Daniel Sturridge (Manchester City to Chelsea)
His later Big Six swap between Chelsea and Liverpool worked out excellently, with Sturridge forming that formidable partnership with Luis Suarez as Brendan Rodgers’ side came within a stud’s depth of winning the Premier League. But he was never given a proper chance at Chelsea.
Sturridge’s most productive season for Chelsea saw him score 11 Premier League goals, which would make him a veritable goal-machine by current standards at Stamford Bridge but at the time wasn’t anything to write home about. Being stuck on the right wing certainly didn’t help and Sturridge showed the damage he could do down the middle soon after his departure.
3) Raheem Sterling (Liverpool to Manchester City)
Many people balked at the £50m Manchester City paid Liverpool for Sterling in 2015 and were then convinced he wouldn’t be Pep Guardiola’s cup of tea when the Spanish boss turned up a year later. But Sterling became one of the most prolific wingers in Premier League history under Guardiola, averaging a goal every other game in six seasons. Chelsea could do with some of that.
2) Ashley Cole (Arsenal to Chelsea)
Chelsea had already won a couple of Premier League titles before he arrived, but Cole’s arrival from Arsenal felt like quite the power shift in London. A player as good and in their prime as Cole was moving to Stamford Bridge was a pretty good indicator of the status of the two clubs.
He made the right call. In Cole’s eight-year spell at Chelsea, the Arsenal academy graduate won four FA Cups, the League Cup, the Premier League, the Europa League and the Champions League; Arsenal won one FA Cup.
1) Sol Campbell (Tottenham to Arsenal)
We’ve stuck Sol top more for the amount of piss he boiled through his north London switch than anything else. “Sol Campbell, he’s one of our own” can now be heard as a retort to Tottenham supporters fawning over Harry Kane, which isn’t bad at all from the Arsenal fans.
Campbell didn’t just move to Spurs’ arch rivals, he moved for nothing, before winning four FA Cups and two Premier League titles, clinching the second at White Hart Lane.