Chelsea’s triumph over Manchester City on Saturday night was a bittersweet one for their No.9.
Tammy Abraham emerged from the Estadio do Dragao with a coveted Champions League winners’ medal having participated in the Blues’ joyous trophy lift and subsequent celebrations.
But there is no disguising the fact that his 17-year association with Chelsea is almost certainly coming to an end.
Thomas Tuchel chose to leave Abraham, 23, out of his 23-man squad to face City in the final, with veteran Olivier Giroud preferred for a spot on the bench.
Given the Englishman’s omission from the squad, it raised eyebrows when he emerged for the jubilant post-match scenes dressed in full kit.
It was a moment reminiscent of John Terry in 2012, when the Stamford Bridge legend celebrated the victory over Bayern Munich in a full Chelsea strip, despite playing no part in the Champions League final due to suspension.
By that point in his career, Terry had already secured his legacy and he would go on to make a further 170 appearances for the Blues.
In contrast, Abraham’s senior career with the club appears to be over before it ever fully took off.
The London native joined Chelsea at under-eight level and progressed through the ranks before making his first-team debut in May 2016.
Successful season-long loans followed, first with Bristol City and later with Aston Villa, either side of a tepid spell with Swansea.
Abraham averaged over 20 goals per season during his three loans and this thrust him into contention for a place in Frank Lampard’s squad after the manager’s appointment in July 2019.
Abraham quickly became the flagbearer for Lampard’s youthful side and netted 18 goals for the Blues in his first full season.
Lampard continued to trust the frontman for the first half of this season even amid increased pressure for minutes from Timo Werner and Kai Havertz.
Things changed drastically as Tuchel replaced the former midfielder in January, however, with the German instructed in his job brief to get the best out of his compatriots Werner and Havertz.
Abraham was hauled off at half-time in two of his three starts under Tuchel and has not been named in the starting line-up since February.
His absence from the Champions League final squad was not entirely surprising given he was also snubbed for a role in the FA Cup final versus Leicester City earlier this month.
Abraham was the Blues’ top scorer in the competition with four goals and his omission prompted backlash from the striker’s girlfriend.
In a quickly-deleted Instagram post, Leah Monroe wrote: “How on earth do you make the decision to leave your top goal scorer out of the squad for a final!?!
Is Tuchel making a mistake with Abraham? Comment below.
“The same person who even scored the goals to actually qualify for this competition? It’s not making any sense to me whatsoever.”
Chelsea failed to break down the Foxes as they fell to a 1-0 defeat at Wembley, and Tuchel was quizzed on why he left Abraham out after the match.
“It’s just the amount of people I can nominate for a game,” he said in response. “I decided to start with Timo as the nine and we had Ollie and Kai who can play as a nine. It’s not personal.”
It may not be personal, but the writing is on the wall for Abraham as he has entirely lost his place in the Chelsea squad.
He has no shortage of suitors; no Blues player has scored more than Abraham’s 12 goals this season and only Giroud can better his ratio of 128 minutes per goal.
West Ham are understood to be in pole position to sign Abraham – who has two years remaining on his contract – although they are reluctant to meet Chelsea’s £40million price tag, meaning negotiations may continue deep into the summer.
Abraham was once tipped to lead the line for Chelsea for many seasons to come, but a summer transfer away from west London appears a certainty – and that may be best for all parties.
Sign up to the Mirror Football email here for the latest news and transfer gossip.