21-year-old midfielder Billy Clifford has mutually agreed a deal with Chelsea to see his contract at the club terminated in order for him to go out and search for first team football.
The former FA Youth Cup winner revealed the news on Twitter, thanking the players, staff and fans for their support during his 13-year stint at the club, and finished by declaring ''Chelsea will always be in my heart''
1/3 Cancellation of my contract at Chelsea Fc was to go and find regular first team football. Would like to take the time to thank all— Billy Clifford (@Bclifford47) August 7, 2014
2/3 The staff, players and supports for the amazing 13years Iv had at the club and wish them the very best in the future.— Billy Clifford (@Bclifford47) August 7, 2014
3/3 Chelsea will always be in my heart— Billy Clifford (@Bclifford47) August 7, 2014
Clifford, who agreed a four-year deal in 2011, has never really been talked up to becoming a first team regular at Stamford Bridge and failed to register a single first team appearance in his 13-year spell.
In 2013, the young midfielder stepped out of the comforts of Chelsea's Academy for the first time and joined with manager Joe Dunne at Colchester United. During his time at the League One club, the youngster made a big impact and received big praise from the Colchester manager, claiming the Chelsea starlet to be a 'real coup' for the club.
Speaking to BBC Essex, Dunne said: ''It's a big step forward for the club that Chelsea have allowed us to keep Billy here,' he reflected.
'He's enjoying himself at the moment, his confidence is high and it is a really big plus for us. There was the possibility of him going elsewhere, but I'm glad he's decided to stay.
'He's tenacious, has great technical ability, his heart is big and it's a chance to get out and play which he has taken.'
Clifford went on to make 18 appearances for Colchester, including the last game of the season where a 2-0 away victory saw the club guarantee League One safety. Last season, however, was hugely disappointing for the 21-year-old as he played just five times during two loan spells; the first for Yeovil Town in the Championship and the second for Royal Antwerp in Belgium's second division.
''He is the right age of us in terms of us bringing in players to develop them,'' Smith said. ''He is one who has been at Chelsea for a long time and went on loan last season. We will continue looking at him for the rest of the week.''
Now a free agent, Clifford would be free to join Walsall if he wished, and he would no doubt have a good chance of nailing down the regular first team spot he voiced his desire for in the aforementioned tweet.
Chelsea fans, is Billy Clifford leaving the club for the best?