Bertrand has been at Chelsea since 2005 when he signed from Gillingham, but he has only made 57 senior appearances for the Blues since then.
Once hailed as the next Ashley Cole in the Evening Standard, Bertrand is yet to live up to his potential. He has struggled to get into the Chelsea side on a consistent basis and has spent the majority of his nine years at the club out on loan, something that has caused him great frustration:
There were times when I would be frustrated that I was going out on loan again but anyone would be like that in that situation.
Thankfully, I’ve had my mother with me all the way and we have remained realistic. When we speak to each other we’re not confused, we’re realistic about our chances.
When he has been given a chance at his parent club, he has shown flashes of brilliance, most notably when he made his Champions League debut in the 2012 final. Bertrand was played as a left-sided midfielder in that game, and it is telling that that was his best performance in blue.
Bertrand is not a natural left-back, preferring a more attacking role. He was converted to a more defensive player during his time at the Chelsea academy but has found consistent quality in the position hard to come by.
With the signing of Filipe Luis, and with Cesar Azpilicueta and Nathan Ake able to deputise at left-back, it could make sense for Bertrand to play in his preferred midfield position. However, that is an area where the Blues are also well-stocked.
Jose Mourinho likes to make his players contribute across the pitch. The likes of Eden Hazard and Willian are encouraged to track back and tackle, while Nemanja Matic has the central-defensive midfield position locked down.
With such a wealth of talent ahead of him, Bertrand’s chances of appearing in Chelsea’s midfield are slim.
Considering that he was unable to make the 23-man England squad for the World Cup despite Cole’s absence, it is hard to see a future for him at Stamford Bridge. Even with the added value that his homegrown status brings, it is time for Bertrand to move on.
According to Reuters (via The Guardian) Southampton have the option to make his loan move permanent for a fee of £10 million, and they certainly need Bertrand more than Chelsea do.
Luke Shaw’s departure this summer generated a bountiful sum of money, and if the Saints are able to replace the 19-year-old with a more experienced, English left-back, it makes sense to reinvest some of those funds.
Bertrand is an excellent professional and has shown plenty of hard work, commitment and dedication to get to where he is today. However, he does not have the talent required of a club with Chelsea’s ambitions and should seek to continue his career elsewhere.