Former France youth international Jeremie Boga joined Chelsea’s youth setup at 11 years-old, moving to London with his family to embark on a footballing career.
Boga made his first U23 appearance for Chelsea at the age of 15, before featuring more heavily in the following seasons.
As a teenager, Boga was a regular in the Premier League 2, FA Youth Cup and UEFA Youth League scoring a handful of goals across all competitions.
He appeared for Chelsea’s youth sides in a variety of roles, ranging from a supporting striker to an attacking wide forward.
Boga was noted for his excellent dribbling ability and penchant for taking on multiple players in a single move.
Regarded highly for his rapid physical and footballing development, the need for competitive first team football was evident.
At the age of 18, Boga made a switch back to his native France, joining Ligue 1 side Stade Rennais on loan for the 2015-16 season.
Featuring in the majority of Rennes’ league games as a late substitute, Boga was regarded as a very raw prospect, but one with attacking potential in need of more first team minutes.
The following season, Boga was sent out on loan once again, to Granada CF in Spain’s top flight.
Despite featuring more regularly, Boga struggled in a side which were outgunned by La Liga’s considerably bigger sides. After losing 12 or their last 13 league games, Granada were relegated back to the Segunda División and Boga’s loan spell came to an end.
Return to England
A 20-year-old Boga was thrust into the spotlight in Chelsea’s opening game of the 2017/18 season against Burnley, but his debut did not go as he would have envisaged.
After 18 minutes, Gary Cahill was sent off and Boga was the player sacrificed in favour of more defensive ballast. Despite signing a new three-year contract, he would not play another minute for Chelsea.
Shortly after, he joined Birmingham City on loan in the Championship but failed to turn his dynamic, attacking approach into tangible end product. In 31 league appearances, he managed just two goals and three assists.
Boga found himself out of Steve Cotterill’s Blues side midway through the season after the manager raised concerns about his fitness.
The winger was quoted as saying, “I think I needed a bit more fitness so obviously I had to work a little bit harder than I usually do but if was for me, for the better[ment] of my play and for the team.”
Cotterill departed the club shortly thereafter and was replaced by Garry Monk who favoured other wingers ahead of Boga. As Birmingham ensured their Championship survival late on in the season, Boga remained sidelined for the final four games of the campaign.
Move to Italy
In an attempt to cut their losses on a player who had failed to develop over the course of three loan deals, Chelsea sold Boga to Serie A side US Sassuolo during the summer of 2018.
The club received £3.5 million for Boga but crucially inserted a buy-back clause believed to be in the region of €15 million (£13.26 million). Boga’s first campaign in the green and black of Sassuolo saw him feature heavily towards the end of the 2018-19 season, scoring a handful of goals as the Neroverdi finished in mid-table.
A favourite of head coach Roberto De Zerbi, Boga began 2019-20 in fine form scoring against Internazionale, Fiorentina and Juventus by December.
As the Ivorian international winger has gone from strength to strength, De Zerbi has since been quoted by Sky Sport Italia saying, “Boga has undoubtedly improved a lot and can still grow, but he must remain a few years with us in Sassuolo.”
The 23-year-old has excited crowds across Italy this season, captivating them with his long-range efforts, direct running and electric speed.
Undoubtedly one of Serie A’s standout players this season and one of Europe’s best dribblers, Boga could make a return to Stamford Bridge if Chelsea choose to exercise their buy-back option.