With a potential two-window transfer ban in the offing for Chelsea, next season may see them become more creative than usual in their use the loan army. Chelsea’s academy and the ‘kids’ it brings through is often criticised for not developing Chelsea players. The summer may prove pivotal in the direction the club takes.
Chelsea are likely to lose one or two of their current squad once this season is over. Gary Cahill’s contract is up and will certainly look to find first-team football elsewhere. Olivier Giroud is also keen to get more first-team action, he’s out-of-contract in June. The current top scorer in the Europa League has found starts in the Premier League harder to come by. The arrival of Gonzalo Higuain has clearly not helped the situation.
“Of course it’s frustrating. Today, I have the impression there is clearly no competition since January. It’s like that, I know that I will only play in the Europa League. I try to do what it takes to be as effective and as important as I can for the team.”
Assuming Chelsea are unable to bring players in for next season, some of the loanees will return to Cobham under the direction of a manager (unknown). Of those plying their trade across the country and around the world, there are five that stand out as potential returnees. That’s excluding Christian Pulisic, who will join up with the squad for the first time having been loan back to Dortmund after the club bought him January.
Kurt Zouma – Currently on loan at Everton, the 24-year-old has been gaining Premier League experience for the last couple of years. Before Everton, he spent a season with Stoke City. With the departure of Cahill, Zouma would be a good option to mix it up with Andreas Christensen, Antonio Rudiger and David Luiz. Prior to going out on loan, he made 71 appearances for Chelsea, so he’s no stranger to the set-up. Playing for Everton and Stoke will no doubt have toughened him up as he played at a slightly lower level to Chelsea.
Tiemoue Bakayoko – Another French international Baka had an inauspicious start to his Chelsea career and was quickly moved on despite his £36m transfer fee. His downfall at Chelsea began after he was sent off for two bookable offences within five minutes of each other the 4-1 defeat at Watford in February 2018. His loan move to AC Milan looked to be heading the same way for a time but he’s managed to turn that around under Gennaro Gattuso’s management. Interestingly though the sending off trait continued as he received his marching orders against Bologna after picking up two yellow cards within three minutes of each other.
Mason Mount – At Derby County Mason Mount must be living the dream – along with Fiakayo Tomori – learning how to be a top midfielder from a legend of a midfielder. Frank Lampard’s first stint as manager has seen take a couple of Chelsea’s finest academy kids to hone for the future of his former club. The chances are the two will work together again at some point in the not too distant future, probably in SW6. His value has been rising since he arrived at Pride Park and despite a season hit by injury, he continues to improve.
Michy Batshuayi – The Batman scored the goal that won Antonio Conte his only Premier League title in 2017. A social-media sensation and a cult hero for smashing the ball into his own face off the post as he attempted a celebration after Adnan Januzai scored against England in the last World Cup, Batshuayi is a character that belongs in SW6. The Belgian international, currently at Crystal Palace, like Bakayoko, was another of Chelsea’s famous £30m+ buys, not world class, not rubbish but ultimately not good enough. Next season though could be his chance to shine.
Tammy Abraham – Currently setting the Championship alight with Aston Villa, the England youngster will be a questionable addition to Chelsea’s squad if he returns. Clearly talented but will it be enough for the Premier League. His time on-loan with Swansea saw him score 8 goals in 39 games. There’s no doubt it would be great if he could step up, it would be another chance for one of Chelsea’s genuine youth products to make the move into the senior squad. If there is a transfer ban Chelsea’s striking options will be limited, to say the least. Tammy knows where the goal is though and in the EPL it’s the same size as the one in the championship, so why can’t he do the business back at the top for the Blues.
Of course, Chelsea may well dispute the ban and get it overturned, in which case scratch those 773 words.
Follow Kevin on Twitter @techlec2000