The Blues are seeing Europe’s top clubs circle around several academy talents who have yet to renew their contracts
The Blues are keen to keep hold of Illing-Junior but they face losing the 16-year-old for a small compensation fee as his youth contract expires soon and professional terms have not been signed.
PSG and Bayern have had some success in signing youth players from Chelsea, with Marcin Bulka and Jamal Musiala both having left in similar circumstances, while Schalke and Ajax have also been sending scouts to academy games at Cobham to target talent.
England Under-17 international Illing-Junior broke into Chelsea’s Under-18 and Under-19 squads ahead of time and he has played in his side’s UEFA Youth League campaign.
Frank Lampard has handed debuts to eight players from the club’s academy this season after putting his faith in youth following years of complaints that talent from the country’s most successful academy of recent years was not getting a chance to make senior appearances.
But, with the likes of Mason Mount, Tammy Abraham, Fikayo Tomori and Callum Hudson-Odoi playing regularly, other youngsters saw fit to leave in January and there are fears that Illing-Junior could follow the likes of Tariq Lamptey and Clinton Mola out of the academy with the pair having joined Brighton and Stuttgart respectively.
With Chelsea having handed lucrative long-term contracts to so many young academy graduates, the likes of Illing-Junior have concerns about competing with Hudson-Odoi and Mount in the long-term to become a Chelsea player.
Meanwhile, Chelsea have long been monitoring Birmingham City‘s 16-year-old wonderkid Jude Bellingham, but may have problems persuading Tino Anjorin to renew his contract as a result.
Anjorin made his debut for Chelsea this season and he is currently the star attacker of the current group of youngsters breaking through, but he is worried that, along with competing with those already in the first team, signing Bellingham may block his future chances in Lampard’s side.
The 18-year-old’s contract expires in 2021, although he could be one of several youngsters called into the first-team squad in the coming week as injuries start to mount for Lampard ahead of key games against Tottenham, Bayern Munich and Liverpool.