Following 17 years as a Blue, 26-year-old midfielder Lewis Baker is leaving Chelsea in a permanent transfer to join Championship side Stoke City on a two-and-a-half year contract this winter.
For several years Baker was one of the most promising talents from Chelsea’s Academy setup.
Baker joined Chelsea at the age of nine from his hometown club Luton Town and developed a reputation for himself at Cobham as a technically gifted, two-footed central player.
He proved a standout individual in a talented team, resulting in a fine 2013/14 season in which he was named Young Player of the Year and won the club’s Goal of the Season for a back-heel strike in an Under-21 match away against Arsenal at the Emirates in which he won the FA Youth Cup and Under-21 Premier League.
Following a career with loans at eight different clubs and four different countries, injuries have derailed his career and was unable to become a regular starter at the Stamford Bridge.
It feels as if he was never able to surpass the high expectations set during his two-season loan spell with Vitesse from 2015 to 2017, in which Baker aided the Dutch club lift their first and only major trophy till this day in the 2016-17 KNVB Cup and also his loan stinct with MK Dons in League One, playing in midfield alongside Dele Alli and helping the team to promotion.
Over almost nine seasons as a professional player, Baker managed two appearances for Chelsea.
The first was his debut during the 2013-14 FA Cup under José Mourinho, as a substitute to Oscar during a clash with Derby County.
The second, and now last was also a substitute appearance, in place of fellow Academy player Andreas Christensen in the FA Cup meeting with Chesterfield last Saturday.
Stoke City manager Michael O’Neill says Baker is ready to settle and see what is next in his still young career.
From speaking to Lewis it’s clear that he is ready to lay down roots at a club and kick-on with his career.
“He’s a very talented midfielder who will bring a different dimension to our squad and we are delighted to have him on board with us.” Michael O’NeillI told Stokefc
It’s never a happy occasion seeing a promising player fail to achieve the transition from Cobham to the first team and moving on to different environment.
Though he failed to leave his mark at but Baker deserves best, and hopefully Stoke City can provide just that to the two-footed threat.
He joins a Potters outfit that is gunning for promotion through one of the playoff spots in the Championship and currently sitting seven points off 6th with two matches in hand on in-form Middlesbrough.
With the likes of Tino Livramento, Fikayo Tomori, Lamptey, Tammy Abraham to mention but a few have all left Chelsea in search of first team shirt and the uncertainty that can come with a Stamford Bridge; Lewis Baker has done the same and only time can tell 🤞