There have a wide array of changes at Chelsea F.C over the years. Eden Hazard is gone. Fellow Belgian compatriot Thibaut Courtois has been gone for a couple years now. There have been plenty of new signings ever since Chelsea’s wallet was reopened following their transfer ban in 2019. That transfer banned season gave rise to numerous youngsters that rapidly advanced through the Chelsea youth system, giving fans plenty of reason for hope in the future and now. But it begs the question. With all of these fresh faces, who is Chelsea’s longest serving veteran? Lets find out shall we? Obviously youth products such as Tammy Abraham and Reece James don’t count knowing they’ve only been senior players for a short time.
Three obvious names come to mind off the bat:
Versatile defender and captain César Azpilicueta
Brutish centre back Kurt Zouma
And energetic winger/wingback Victor Moses
Let’s start with Zouma. He really made a name for himself with boyhood club Saint-Étienne, attracting the interest of Chelsea in 2013. They would sign him on deadline day in the winter window of 2014 for about £12m, and he would remain on loan to Saint-Étienne for the remainder of the 2013/2014 season. He’s been a solid figure for Chelsea, but he has spent a couple seasons on loan, one being at Everton and the other at Stoke City. While he is one of the more veteran players there, he is far from the longest serving, with him joining the club in 2014. Let’s continue on then.
Lets look at an obvious contender. Club Captain César Azpilicueta. 275 appearances all over the defensive side of the pitch. Left back, centre back, right back. He’s won a cabinets worth of trophies. Two Premier League titles, two Europa League titles, an FA Cup, and a EFL Cup. He’s shown his worth with clever passing, tackling intelligence, good speed, and above all else, his leadership. He’s contributed a few goals too.
The Spanish international joined Chelsea from Marseille, after spending two years in France since leaving boyhood club Osasuna. They bought him on August 24 2012 for £7m. They certainly made the most out of that deal. A certified club legend, whether you like it or not. 2012 is the longest so far but let’s see if there’s been anyone that has stayed at the club longer than Azpi.
This may be a shock to you (or not if you don’t have dumb brain like me) but Victor Moses is still a Chelsea player. Like when I saw this tweet I had to do a double take and say what the fuck Moses is still with Chelsea?
But it’s true. Moses joined Chelsea on August 24th 2012 from Wigan Athletic. He’s actually been at the club for as long as Azpilicueta. Moses has been a victim of the dreaded Chelsea loan system, being stuck in purgatory by joining club after club on loan while still being tied to the London club. Liverpool, Stoke City, West Ham, Fenerbahçe, Inter Milan, and now Spartak Moscow. He’s made 87 appearances for Chelsea and has had to make numerous accommodations to suit each manager. He impressed Antonio Conte with his versatility at right wing back but the 3–4–3 formation wouldn’t be a mainstay after Conte’s departure. He would reunite with him at Inter for a bit but the move was never permanent.
Fun fact: if you added up all of Moses’s loan appearances as of now, it’s more than his Chelsea career. 92 appearances for other clubs on loan. Good lord.
I mention Chelsea’s loan system and it being like purgatory. I’m not wrong. Go ahead and watch Tifo’s video above. It’ll lead into my next segment.
Done? Cool. I bet you’re wondering who this lovely dude is. This is Lucas Piazon. They mentioned him in the video briefly. He’s gone on loan seven times in his career thus far. The Brazilian attacking midfielder has been all over the world. Malaga (Spain), Vitesse (Netherlands), Frankfurt (Germany), Reading, Fulham, Chievo Verona (Italy), and now Rio Ave in Portugal. As a youngster in Brazil, he was seen as a hot prospect, drawing rave comparisons to Kaka. He was snatched up by Chelsea from Sãu Paulo, but they had to wait a year until he obtained his work visa before giving him a shot at the first team. What year was this? 2012. The month? January 20th to be exact. That’s right. Piazon is the longest serving senior Chelsea player. You can go and be shocked now. He was named the Chelsea Young Player of the Year on May 2012. He’d feature in the MLS All Star game as well as the Champions League squad but he only made one appearance in the Premier League and two appearances in the League Cup. Those would be his only appearances for Chelsea. Then came the loans. Constantly having to adapt to different leagues and their style of play. For example, he thrived in the Dutch League due to their emphasis on attacking and creativity, leading to his 11 goals in 29 appearances. But he openly said the Bundesliga made him concentrate on his work rate and defending, leading to a lower tally. But he still flashed his electric skills.
Even if he started to show some of the potential, he never felt quite at home.
I’ve been at Chelsea since 2011, I’ve been on loan almost all over Europe. I’m tired of playing here and there, I need a place where I can feel at home. I want to know that in July I will return to the same place, to the same house.
I’d have a good season on loan, but I’d come back and was soon loaned again. There was no point in going out on loan, playing well, coming back, not being used and being loaned again – Lucas Piazon via Portuguese newspaper A Bola
If he began to feel comfortable at place such as Fulham, where he became a local favourite, Chelsea would loan him someplace else to up or recoup his value.
Like look at the biography for him on Chelsea’s website. They emphasise that they had to pry him away from other top European clubs and that he was so highly rated. How remarkable he was as a youngster. Then they glaze over the loans. Bullshit. He hasn’t been shy to criticise Chelsea, and he’s not wrong with his takes.
I became just another business for them – Piazon via Maisfutebol
In the end, Piazon wasn’t the next Kaka. There’s never going to be one. Piazon is a solid player with good creative abilities. He never made the cut at Chelsea. Not a lot of players do nowadays. He has no regrets joining them despite the less than ideal situation. But that doesn’t mean he couldn’t have staked a claim for another team. Hell he’s still only 26 with tons of fuel in the tank. He was killing it in the Eredivisie. He said if he spent some more time in Germany he would adapt to the game. Fulham loved him. But now Rio Ave is his temporary home. And he’s racking up consistent minutes in Portugal. He’s even a father now, stating that his son is now his focus, especially now, bringing him in during this shitty time known as the global pandemic. Despite everything, these experiences made him a leader, despite the fact he never captained Chelsea or even made more than one singular appearance (and it was on a 8–0 ass kicking of Aston Villa). And you never know. He could yet make lemonade out of the lemons that is his Chelsea career. For he is their longest serving player.
Very important update here in the year of our lord 2021: it has finally happened. Lucas Piazon has left Chelsea. Not on loan. An actual deal. He’s free. I like to think this article persuaded someone to actually sign him, so your welcome. Now let’s save Jamal Blackman from his captivity.