Assessing the Chelsea Loanees' Likely Impact at Stamford Bridge Next Season
Chelsea had a full squad of players out on loan during the 2013-14 season. From goalkeepers to strikers, 28 players covering every position on the pitch were shipped out of the club for a variety of reasons. Some were sent to gain much-needed experience, others to hone their skills and a few to continue recovery from injury.
As Financial Fair Play takes hold, maintaining another full squad of players where their wages are at least in part paid by the parent club will no longer be viable. It is time to take a look at all 28 of Chelsea’s loanees and assess at what their short-term futures could hold.
Potential has been determined by analysing match reports and statistics before comparing them with players currently at the club. Player profiles are all from the Official Chelsea website. Statistics and match reports, where available, are from WhoScored.com.
Returning to Stamford Bridge as First-Team Regulars
Thibaut Courtois will almost certainly be recalled to Chelsea for the 2014-15 season. With Petr Cech unlikely to feature in pre-season after undergoing surgery on a shoulder injury, Courtois will provide a more than adequate replacement for the current No. 1. The Blues are blessed to have the Belgian, widely rated as the best young goalkeeper in the world, on their books, and it appears that the time has come for him to make his Chelsea debut.
Romelu Lukaku has been tipped to leave Chelsea for good this summer, with Tottenham Hotspur among his suitors, per The Metro. With the arrivals of Diego Costa and Mario Mandzukic appearing imminent, at least two of the Blues’ current strikers will be heading for the exit. However, Lukaku should not be one of them. The Belgian scored 15 goals for Everton this season despite a dip in form, and he should be given the chance to prove himself at Chelsea.
Oriol Romeu’s Chelsea career was hampered by a nasty-looking knee injury in 2011. However, with John Obi Mikel looking likely to leave in the summer, per the Daily Mail's Sami Mokbel, and rumours about David Luiz’s future persisting via John Cross of The Mirror, Romeu could be recalled to fill the gap next to Nemanja Matic along with Marco van Ginkel.
Thorgan Hazard has managed to shrug off the “little brother” tag, winning the Belgian Jupiler League’s Player of the Year award this season. He produced 16 goals in 43 appearances and a place could certainly be made for him in the midfield rotation.
Returning to Stamford Bridge as Part of Reserves/Under-21 Setup 1/2
Kurt Zouma is a beast of a central defender, signed in January and sent back to Saint-Etienne. While he is just 19 years old and unlikely to displace John Terry or Gary Cahill, having Zouma available to play alongside Tomas Kalas in cup games or for the reserves would allow Mourinho to assess their partnership for the future.
Lucas Piazon spent the 2013-14 season on loan at Vitesse Arnhem, along with several club mates. He scored 11 goals in 29 appearances for the Dutch side, and the versatility he brings to the attack would make him an excellent backup in the No. 10 role.
Patrick Van Aanholt could negate the need to spend £30 million on Luke Shaw. The 23-year-old Dutchman has been at Chelsea since 2007, meaning he qualifies as home-grown by the Premier League's criteria. Van Aanholt has impressed at Vitesse, scoring four goals and assisting a further three in 29 Eredivisie appearances. With such impressive performances on loan, it makes sense to bring the left-back back to London to test him against Cesar Azpilicueta, the man who stole Ashley Cole's place in the starting XI
Christian Atsu has the potential to shake things up in the attacking midfield rotation. The 22-year-old has registered five goals and six assists in 28 Eredivisie appearances this season, although he will have to improve his defensive contribution if he is to make it under Mourinho.
Returning to Stamford Bridge as Part of Reserves/Under-21 Setup 2/2
Bertrand Traore has spent three pre-seasons as a trialist with Chelsea. The 18-year-old's work permit was granted in January, and he was able to sign his first contract with the club. Traore was particularly impressive on the tour of Asia and America last summer, and he could provide an effective option as the fourth choice striker in the squad next season.
George Saville had a successful season on loan at Brentford, helping them secure promotion to the second tier for the first time in their history. The Bees are keen to keep him on loan, but his potential as an all-round midfielder and his home-grown English status could see him return to Stamford Bridge next season.
Patrick Bamford is an English striker with a sensational eye for goal. Sent on a half-season loan to League One MK Dons last August, Bamford scored 14 goals in 23 appearances. In January he moved up a league, finishing the 2013-14 season at Derby County where he netted eight times in 22 appearances, providing three assists on the way. Bamford’s eye for goal and homegrown status should see him stay at Stamford Bridge next season.
Nathaniel Chalobah has matured in the last three years. A season spent working under Gianfranco Zola at Watford in 2012-13, narrowly missing out on promotion to the Premier League, led to his inclusion in Chelsea’s squad for pre-season. Jose Mourinho tipped the 20-year-old midfielder to have a future with the club after another season on loan and 31 appearances for Middlesbrough producing three goals will only strengthen his cause.
Kenneth Omeruo joined Chalobah at Middlesbrough in January and imposed himself at centre-half. He made 13 appearances for the Championship side and was voted man of the match against Reading, despite conceding two goals. This was down to him making 13 clearances, five tackles, five interceptions and catching two players offside. If he keeps up that work rate, Omeruo could find himself challenging Tomas Kalas next season.
Heading out on Loan Again 1/2
Sam Hutchinson's Chelsea story is more complicated than most. Signed to the club at the age of seven, "Hutch" retired from the game in 2010 due to a chronic knee injury. He remained with the club to gain his coaching badges and felt fit enough to return to the reserves in 2011. He has come on leaps and bounds since then, although he needs more experience before he is given his second chance in the senior squad. A move to a Championship club would be best for his continuing development
Gael Kakuta was left out in the cold at Vitesse in the first half of the season, leading to a January move to Lazio. However, he made just two substitute appearances for the Italian club and should spend next season on loan at a club like Aston Villa to gain Premier League experience.
Wallace was signed from Fluminense in January 2013 and spent the remainder of the season on loan at his former club. He returned to Chelsea for pre-season but was loaned out to Inter Milan in August 2013. Having made just three substitute appearances for the Nerazzuri, Wallace will need to spend another season on loan in order for Chelsea to fully assess his progress.
Todd Kane is a 20-year-old right-back who made 27 appearances for Blackburn Rovers this season, scoring two goals and making three assists. Despite this excellent potential, Chelsea are well stocked at right-back, and Kane will likely go out on loan to another Championship club.
Billy Clifford has spent the 2013-14 season on loan at Belgian second division side Antwerp. Having made a limited impact with one start and three substitute appearances, he will likely spend 2014-15 on loan at a Championship club.
Heading out on Loan Again 2/2
Cristian Cuevas has made 13 appearances in his first full season as a Chelsea loanee. Signed from Chilean club O’Higgins in 2013, Cuevas was initially sent to Vitesse Arnhem, before spending the second half of the season at FC Eindhoven. At 19 years old in a position where Chelsea find themselves well stocked, left-back, Cuevas will likely be loaned out again for next season.
Milan Lalkovic joined Chelsea as an under-14. During his most recent loan spell at Walsall, Lalkovic scored six times in 38 appearances. Considering the competition for his position as a winger, it is likely that without dramatic improvement, Lalkovic will see out the rest of his Chelsea career on loan.
Stipe Perica is an 18-year-old Croatian striker who signed for Chelsea last summer. He has spent the season on loan at Eredivise side NAC Breda and scored six goals in 25 appearances. If he is to come back to Chelsea, he is unlikely to feature in the senior squad, but he could play a part in the under-21s side.
Jhon Pirez signed for Chelsea in 2012 and was out on loan so fast that the website didn’t even have time to take a photo of him. The 21-year-old is nearing the end of his second season with Spanish third tier side Leganesa and will likely be loaned out again next season.
Ulises Davila joined Chelsea on a five-year deal in 2011 and has spent time at Vitesse Arnhem, as well as Spanish Second Divison clubs Cordoba and Sabadell. The 23-year-old Mexican forward will likely have one more loan spell, or make his next move more permanent.
Likely to Be Sold
Marko Marin was signed in the heady months of extravagance that immediately followed the Champions League win. Marin enjoys tracking back and defending as much as Juan Mata does and will likely make his stay at Seville permanent this summer.
Victor Moses disappeared after international duty ahead of the first game of the season against Hull City. With the abundance of hard-working attacking midfelders at Chelsea, Moses was sent out on loan to Premier League rivals Liverpool. With the abundance of talent ahead of him at Chelsea, it looks as though Moses could be on the market this summer.
Ryan Bertrand joined Chelsea in 2005 and was widely tipped to become England’s next great left-back. His Champions League debut on the left of midfield in the 2012 final is written into Chelsea folklore, but it may be time to accept that the 24-year-old’s future lies away from Stamford Bridge.
Matej Delac is another 21-year-old goalkeeper on Chelsea’s books. Despite moderate success in his loan spells since 2010, he faces stiff competition from Thibaut Courtois and Petr Cech, as well as Jamal Blackman in the under-21s. It is likely that he will remain at his current loan club Vojvodina permanently.
Josh McEachran has been at Chelsea since the age of eight and was one of the most promising academy talents of recent years. However, that potential is yet to materialise through a combination of misfortune and injury. Josh only managed eight appearances for Wigan Athletic as they bid to get back into the Premier League this season. Important as home-grown players are to the squad, it makes sense for Chelsea to accept any reasonable offers for McEachran and thank him for his efforts.
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