The Premier League's biggest clubs could be forced to sell players in the next 18 months following reports FIFA has informed them of plans to drastically limit the number of players who can be loaned.
The Blues have built a habit of purchasing young, promising players, the vast majority of whom have struggled to find first-team chances at Stamford Bridge.
The system is a win-win for clubs like Chelsea and City in particular, who have the resources to lure top young talents and then farm them out to receive first-team football elsewhere.
If the player performs well enough, they could be sold or, in rarer cases, afforded a chance in their senior side.
It's understood the new plans will also limit sides to completing only two deals with any single club per season, per The Times (via The Independent).
Football writer Adam Hurrey pointed to Chelsea forward and former Colombia under-20 international Joao Rodriguez—who is yet to represent the English club five years after moving to England—as an example of the system at work:
City have 29 players out on loan, including English hopeful Patrick Roberts, 21, who's at Girona, 19-year-old Daniel Arzani at Celtic and Colombia international Marlos Moreno, 22, who's with Flamengo.
Under the current format, City could keep these players in perpetual loans until they develop or hit a good enough patch in form that they warrant either a first-team chance or an adequate selling fee.
Liverpool have 12 players loaned away at present, while Manchester United and Arsenal have only nine and seven out on temporary terms and perhaps wouldn't struggle to meet the loan limit.
Few plans are foolproof, however, and sportswriter Simon Harrison highlighted one method that could provide a route around the proposed new laws:
It's not only the big clubs that will be affected either. Brighton & Hove Albion have loaned 17 players out since the start of July, and Pozzo family-owned Watford have 15 players farmed in countries such as Spain, Belgium and Germany.
The new laws have the potential to promote the development of homegrown players in the Premier League and could provide more balance in how clubs generate revenue.