Chelsea Transfer Review: Thoughts on Chelsea's Summer Loan Departures (Part 2)
In the fourth and final part of my Chelsea transfer review, this article offers an insight into the club’s remaining outgoing loan deals that were not discussed in Part 1 of this series.
Much like the previous article, this list consists of players who find themselves in a range of different circumstances, from the young, up-and-coming talents to some of the more established—and perhaps overlooked—stars at Stamford Bridge.
Therefore, each individual deal must be considered in isolation, with both the short- and long-term ramifications taken into account.
So without further ado, let us begin the concluding part of my Chelsea transfer review from the summer of 2012.
Despite the fact that Lukaku won two trophies last season, it was a fairly uninspiring campaign for the big Belgian.
He endured an uneasy relationship with former manager Andre Villas-Boas and was keen to voice his discontent regarding his bit-part role in the side. As a result, Chelsea agreed to send Lukaku to Premier League rivals West Brom for the upcoming season in order to satisfy his desire for more regular football.
The 19-year-old has already scored for the Baggies this term, a feat that eluded him throughout the entirety of the previous campaign.
If he can continue to feature and deliver for the West Midlanders this season, then he may well be rewarded with the opportunities at Chelsea that he so dearly craves.
Considering the recent exit of Didier Drogba, I thought that this season could have been Lukaku's chance to shine for the Blues, but he will now have to wait until next year to seize his chance at Stamford Bridge.
He will no doubt be looking to continue to gain such valuable experience, but the fact remains that Walker could find life difficult upon his return to the Bridge at the end of the season.
With young stars such as Matej Delac and the outstanding Thibaut Courtois to contend with, chances may be limited for the Englishman with Chelsea.
Unfortunately, I wouldn't expect to see him break into the Blues' first team anytime soon, no matter how successful his spell in Bristol is.
Hutchinson's case is a rather remarkable one.
He announced his retirement from the game in August 2009 due to a recurring knee injury at the age of just 21. However, he overcame the pain and completed an impressive comeback when he re-signed with the club in December of last year.
He has since joined Nottingham Forest for the forthcoming season, in a bid to rediscover his form of old that at one stage saw the great Jose Mourinho tip him to eventually replace club captain John Terry.
A feel-good story that is somewhat rare in today's world of football; here's hoping that Hutchinson can continue in his return and enjoy a long and successful career with the club he has supported since he was a child.
Of all the loans that the Blues have negotiated, Clifford's is by far one of the shortest; he has joined League One crisis club Portsmouth for an initial one-month period.
Having first arrived at Chelsea in 2007, the Irishman has spent much of his time in stints away from the club, at Plymouth Argyle, Notts County and Yeovil Town over the last few years.
However in 2010, he did manage to captain Chelsea to victory in the FA Youth Cup final, and his promising displays have seen him feature prominently for the Republic of Ireland at youth level.
He remains a player in development, but in a side like Pompey's he may be given the necessary freedom that will enable him to shine and prove his worth.
Unless the south coast club can negotiate an extension to his one-month deal though, the 20-year-old may be consigned to an arguably less productive year in the Chelsea reserves.
McEachran has been hotly tipped as a star of the future for a number of years now, but he is yet to truly break into the Chelsea first team.
He featured fleetingly for Swansea on loan earlier this year, but will now head north to play for Middlesbrough in the 2012/13 campaign.
A creative midfielder gifted with great intelligence and vision, the England youth international should develop nicely this season thanks to a more regular dose of Championship football.
He is after all still just 19 years of age, and thus has plenty of time to mature and become a key component of Chelsea's future plans.
Eighteen-year-old Archange Nkumu has been a part of Chelsea's academy since the age of 10.
After featuring 24 times for the club's reserves and youth sides last season, he will be spending the first month of this campaign at Yeovil Town.
A defensive-minded player whose versatility sees him comfortable in midfield as well as his natural position at centre-back, he will provide first team cover for the League One side.
He will no doubt be hoping to earn an extension to the one-month agreement, but even a return to Stamford Bridge to spend another year in the reserves won't be disastrous.
Nkumu has time plenty of time to develop yet and perhaps secure a more long-term loan deal next season.
Amin Affane is a highly rated Swedish youth international, noted for his dangerous set-pieces and impressive dribbling ability.
He will spend this year in the Netherlands with Roda JC in the top flight of Dutch football.
The 18-year-old featured prominently for the club's youth team last season, getting on the scoresheet six times including a quite bizarre goal against Portsmouth.
Though he may be one of Chelsea's lesser known names at present, a successful stint with Roda could change that.
Definitely one to watch for the future.
The younger brother of Eden, Thorgan is perhaps more renowned for his family ties rather than his footballing ability.
He has however, been described by his older sibling as the better player, a scary thought for opposition defences given the effectiveness of Eden so far this campaign.
Having only arrived at Stamford Bridge this summer, the Belgian was immediately loaned to Zulte Waregem in his homeland.
He has featured in dozens of games for the various Belgium youth sides, and even managed an impressive ten goals for the under-19 side.
If he continues to develop at such a pace, we may well be seeing the Hazard brothers linking up together in a Chelsea shirt as early as next season.
Chalobah looks to have a bright future ahead of him.
At 17 years of age, he has astonishingly already featured for England's youth teams over 50 times and also captained Chelsea to victory in the 2012 FA Youth Cup.
Equally at ease in both defence and midfield, Chalobah also has demonstrated a real eye for goal for the Blues' reserves in recent seasons.
He will be playing for Watford until January of next year under former Chelsea legend Gianfranco Zola.
The move offers a fantastic opportunity for Chalobah to prove himself further and at such a young age. If his progress remains unhindered, he will surely go on to become a vital player for both club and country.
Once famed for his controversial move from Lens that subsequently saw a transfer ban placed on Chelsea, Kakuta has since been striving to make a name for himself on the pitch rather than off it.
This season he will play for Vitesse, having endured a fairly successful, albeit brief, loan spell at Dijon last season where he managed four league goals in 12 games.
The Frenchman will certainly be looking to press on and make an impact this year, as at 21, the time is nigh for the lively winger to prove to the Blues that he is worthy of a place in their side.
If he can impress in the Netherlands, it may not be long before he steps up to the Chelsea first-team fold. An unsuccessful season however, and I wouldn't be surprised to see Roberto Di Matteo cut his losses on Kakuta.
Yossi Benayoun enjoyed a fairly successful spell with London neighbours Arsenal last term, and will once again make the short trip across the capital, this time to play for former club West Ham United.
Despite featuring in Chelsea's preseason tour of the US, the Israeli has been deemed surplus to requirements, having failed to truly establish himself at Stamford Bridge so far.
And unfortunately, it would appear that he will not be given the chance to change that fact.
Although now 32 years of age, Benayoun—I believe—would have been a useful squad player for the Blues to have around this season, but instead Chelsea's loss will most definitely be West Ham's gain.
Besides, anyone who plays for Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea must be a player of some quality.
Arguably the biggest name on this list, Essien has been loaned to a club of equally grand stature: Real Madrid.
The move was something of a surprise, and I for one certainly felt that Essien had a role to play for the Blues this year. However Roberto Di Matteo obviously believes that the likes of Ramires, John Obi Mikel and Oriol Romeu are capable of ensuring that Essien's exit will go largely unnoticed.
It marks quite a turnaround for a player who was of course signed for a blockbuster fee of over £24 million back in 2005.
Despite his injury problems, Essien could still have been an important player for Chelsea this season. Combined with the loss of the tireless Raul Meireles, I feel that the Blues will certainly miss the Ghanaian.
Though their creative midfielders are flourishing at present, the lack of a domineering, holding player could well be the Blues' Achilles' heel this year.
And so we conclude my 2012 Chelsea transfer review.
The loan deals discussed in this final instalment are all differing in their circumstances, but the majority would appear to be of benefit to the club in the long term.
Loans involving more established players however, such as Benayoun and Essien, may not be so advantageous to the Blues. However they might just have enough quality in their squad to cope without such stars this season.
The club will be hoping for the likes of Lukaku, McEachran and Kakuta to return next summer as far more developed individuals, with the ability to make a real push for a place in the Chelsea starting XI.
For others such as Chalobah and Affane, this year will be another valuable learning curve, as the youngsters continue their long-term development from youthful prodigies to established names.
One thing's for sure; judging by the players on this list, the future appears to be very bright indeed for Chelsea Football Club.