Chelsea Transfer Review: Thoughts on Chelsea's Summer Loan Departures (Part 1)
In the third and final installment of my Chelsea transfer review, we take a look at the players who left the club on loan during the summer transfer window, having already analysed the permanent transfers both in and out of the club in recent articles.
However, due to the sheer number of players that Chelsea have loaned out, this final segment will be split into two separate, more manageable and reader-friendly parts.
As ever with loan deals, it is obviously important to consider both the short- and long-term effects of each deal, as many of these agreements have been made for the purposes of developing players for the future.
With that in mind, let's begin by analysing in chronological order the first 12 of Chelsea's summer loan departures.
Bruma will spend a second successive season at German side Hamburg, having negotiated a two-year deal with the club back in June, 2011.
And the initial signs are certainly positive for the Blues, as the 20-year-old really matured last season, making 22 appearances in the Bundesliga.
However, there could yet be a hitch.
Last season, the Dutchman commented that he would rather remain in Germany than return to the Chelsea substitute's bench.
While the defender may simply have been referring to the immediate future, one has to feel that such sentiments will remain once he returns to the club next summer.
Thus, unless Roberto Di Matteo can offer him first-team assurances, the promising youngster may eventually seek a move away from the West London club.
But if he continues to develop as he did last year, it would be in Chelsea's best interests to look for a way to accommodate Bruma into their first-team plans, as he could yet have a long and successful career with the club.
Patrick Van Aanholt
The Dutch full-back has been loaned to five different clubs since his arrival at the club in 2009.
This year, he will remain at the club where he spent the last six months of the previous campaign, Dutch side Vitesse Arnhem.
It is a move that not only offers Van Aanholt another chance for first-team football, but also develops the intriguing relationship that Chelsea have established with Vitesse in recent years.
First-team experience aside, the fact that Van Aanholt will be spending yet another campaign away from Stamford Bridge begs the question: When will his breakout season come, if ever?
At 22 years of age, one could suggest that this year may have been his time to make the jump to the Chelsea first team, but with Ashley Cole and Ryan Bertrand ahead of him in the pecking order, his days as a Chelsea player may well be numbered.
Of course, there is time for him to prove himself at the club, but embarking upon a sixth loan stint in just four seasons does not bode well for the Netherlands’ under-21 international.
Another Chelsea star who featured for Vitesse last season is the Czech youngster Tomas Kalas, and he will join Van Aanholt in returning to the Gelredome for the forthcoming season.
Having forked out £5.2 million for the highly rated central defender, Chelsea evidently have high hopes for Kalas.
He is yet to play a game for the Blues but did manage an admirable 37 appearances in all competitions for Vitesse last season, a fantastic achievement for any 18-year-old.
Furthermore, Vitesse conceded eight goals in the two games prior to Kalas' debut. They then leaked just nine in the following 15, as the Czech featured prominently in the league's fourth-best defence—a notable feat, given the club's underdog status.
He definitely appears to be a name for a future, and another season of regular football will certainly help the teenager go from strength to strength.
Could Kalas eventually be the long-term replacement for ageing club captain John Terry?
The highly rated Belgium stopper spent last season on loan at Spanish side Atletico Madrid, where he achieved great success in lifting the 2011/12 Europa League trophy.
Courtois kept seven clean sheets in 14 games on the road to the all-Spanish final in Bucharest, and he managed a further 14 in 37 La Liga appearances.
Remaining unbeaten between the sticks for six consecutive league games between December and February marked another highlight of an impressive season.
Chelsea agreed to allow Courtois to return to Atletico this season, where he will once again operate as the club's first-choice goalkeeper, despite being just 20 years of age.
Though tipped as one for the future, he is already starting to live up to his huge potential.
I personally feel that Petr Cech's days as Chelsea's No. 1 are numbered, and wouldn't be surprised to see Courtois break into the Chelsea starting XI as soon as next season perhaps, providing he continues to progress at the rate that he did last year.
A relative of former England midfielder Paul and current Blackpool star Tom, Chelsea youngster Rohan looks set to continue the Ince family's proud footballing tradition.
He was a member of the Blues side that won the 2010 FA Youth Cup and is primarily a defensive player, having featured at both centre-back and in the heart of midfield.
Aged just 19, opportunities for regular football at Chelsea appear to be understandably limited, so the club have instead chosen to send him on a six-month loan deal to Yeovil Town in League One.
Until he has acquired such valuable first-team experience, it's hard to see Ince breaking into the Chelsea squad, and thus this deal appears to benefit all parties involved.
Signed from Mexican club Guadalajara last summer on a five-year contract, Davila looks like a real star in the making.
The attacking midfielder has impressed for the Mexico youth sides, scoring sublime goals against the likes of Hungary and Panama and helping his country finish third in the 2011 FIFA under-20 World Cup.
But the prodigy failed to make much of an impact on loan at Vitesse last season, and has since been loaned to Spanish side Sabadell in the Segunda Division for the 2012/13 campaign.
Davila may find opportunities easier to come by having dropped down a division, giving him the chance to really push on and mature into the player that Chelsea hope he can be.
Yet another promising player to watch in the Blues' ranks, Davila is one of the brightest of the lot.
The Uruguayan teenager agreed to join Chelsea in 2008 but has spent most of his time on loan at former club Defensor Sporting, as FIFA regulations prevented him from officially becoming a Blues player before his 18th birthday.
This season, he will play for Leganes in the third tier of Spanish football.
Still just 19 years of age, Pirez remains largely an unknown quantity at Chelsea, thus a season away to develop would appear to be the most logical move for the big centre forward.
Though not yet ready for the Blues' first team, if he can remain injury-free this season, the lack of depth in Chelsea's forward line may see Pirez challenge for a place in the senior squad sooner than first thought.
Lalkovic will be playing his football in Portugal this season, having been loaned to Vitoria Guimaraes in the Premeira Liga.
The 19-year-old has previously endured fairly uneventful loan spells at Doncaster and Den Haag, and will therefore be looking to press on this season and demonstrate exactly what he is capable of.
A cultured and composed forward, his versatility sees him equally at ease in the wide positions or even in a slightly deeper attacking midfield role.
Lalkovic was offered a contract with Chelsea aged just 14, and though he may be relatively unheard of at present, that could be set to change if the Slovak can continue to perform as he has done for Chelsea's reserve and youth sides.
Delac is another Chelsea youngster who will be plying his trade at Vitoria Guimaraes this season.
And like his teammate Malkovic, Delac has already had two loan spells away from Stamford Bridge, though he managed just one league appearance in a couple of underwhelming seasons.
More impressively, he holds the record as the youngest player to ever be called up to the Croatian national team, after former coach Slaven Bilic selected him in the squad to face England at Wembley in 2009.
Though he may be a promising talent, with the likes of Petr Cech to contend with now and potentially Thibaut Courtois in the future, I wouldn't expect to see Delac break into the first-team squad for some time yet.
Omeruo signed for Chelsea from Standard Liege last season and was immediately loaned to Den Haag in the Netherlands, where he will remain for another 12 months.
Known for his athleticism and power, he can also provide an aerial threat from set pieces.
Thus the Nigerian youth international appears to be somewhat well prepared to adapt to the English game, and of course at just 18 years old, there is still plenty of time for him to further develop both physically and mentally.
His loan to Den Haag presents the chance for Omeruo to further refine his style, but like Delac, he faces fierce competition in his position, this time from the likes of Bruma and Kalas.
Kevin De Bruyne
After featuring in the club's preseason preparations, many tipped De Bruyne for a run in the Chelsea first team this season.
But instead he has been loaned out to German side Werder Bremen, arguably one of the bigger names to feature on this list.
Part of the Belgian "Golden Generation," De Bruyne has impressed at Genk in his homeland, where he managed 13 goals and 30 assists in his previous two campaigns.
If he can continue to produce such form this year in the Bundesliga, expect this to be his last loan stint away from the Bridge, as he could soon be an important part of Roberto Di Matteo's plans.
He's a top-quality player already with time most definitely on his side. Of all the players on this list, I believe that De Bruyne will be first to make the step up to the Chelsea first team.
The final player of Part 1 of this list, defender Ben Gordon has been loaned out to Birmingham City in the Championship this season.
A left-back like Van Aanholt, the two share further similarities in that they have now both been loaned to five different clubs over the course of their Chelsea careers.
And though he is a year younger than the Dutchman, his chances of one day breaking into the Chelsea starting XI appear just as slim, thanks largely to Cole and Bertrand.
Nonetheless, Bertrand himself was loaned to five different clubs before breaking into the Chelsea team last season, so there remains hope for both Gordon and Van Aanholt yet.
A successful year with Birmingham could be make-or-break, and I feel it is time for the former England youth international to step up and show us what he's capable of.
And so we conclude Part 1 of this article, having covered half of the outgoing loans that Chelsea sanctioned over the summer.
For the majority, these moves can be viewed as a chance to grow and develop as players, but for others, the stakes are higher—an unsuccessful campaign could signal the end of their time at Stamford Bridge.
Though this may seem a drastic judgement to make, it is symptomatic of the modern game, with clubs preferring to invest in instant fixes rather than gradually nurturing players from a much younger age.
Nonetheless, Chelsea do indeed boast an impressive crop of youngsters in their ranks, and this certainly bodes well for the club's future.
Stay tuned for Part 2, where the remaining loans will be identified and discussed, including the likes of Gael Kakuta and Michael Essien (pictured).