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There are a variety of different reasons why a club may send a player on loan.
Players may go on loan to gain experience of playing first-team football or in front of a big crowd. Others may go on loan to get match-fit or just game time as they’ve fallen out of favour at their parent club.
However, Chelsea are using the loan system slightly differently. Whether you deem it wrongful or clever is your own decision.
The Blues currently have 27 players out on loan. 20 of which are aged 21 or younger. Only nine of the 27 have made at least one Premier League appearance.
The majority of these young players have been signed by the club and immediately loaned out, some who may never go on to make a first-team appearance; others however are bought, ‘for the future’.
Players sign for Chelsea and are sent to develop their skills elsewhere. Should they start to fulfill their potential, Chelsea may bring them back to the club, if not, they are free to leave the Bridge. But as long as they’re under contract at Chelsea, they won’t be playing for any of their rivals at least.
This January, Jose Mourinho brought it Kurt Zouma from St. Etienne on the final day of the transfer window. Zouma was loaned back to St. Etienne for the rest of the season and will more than likely head out again for the 2014/15 season.
The Stamford Bridge club also holds one of the best young goalkeepers in the world under contract. Thibaut Courtois, currently on loan at Atletico Madrid, has impressed a number of clubs over the past two seasons, leading to murmurings of a bid from Barcelona.
This leaves Chelsea with a predicament. Do they loan him out one more season and risk losing him at the end of it for a smaller fee, sell him to Barca now for a big price or oust Petr Cech and
keep him for themselves right now?
Romelu Lukaku signed for Chelsea in 2011 with a ‘wonderkid’ tag. The Belgian featured from the bench multiple times without making a significant impact.
However last season and at the beginning of this, he has had loan spells at West Brom and Everton, scoring 26 Premier League goals to date. His league experience has increased, as has his ability.
Buying players at a young age, allowing them to go an develop at other clubs, so that you can reap the benefits in the long run seems a smart idea. Should Chelsea start the 2015/16 season with Courtois in goal, Zouma at centre back and Lukaku up top, all much improved from their loans, Chelsea will have got exactly what they wanted and may have three of the best players in the world for their positions.
They are just three of Chelsea’s prospects for the future, while English talents such as Josh McEachran, Nathaniel Chalobah, and Patrick Bamford all ply their trade in the Championship with Wigan Athletic, Middlesbrough and Derby County respectively.
Whether it’s good for the player’s development or not is up for debate, but Chelsea’s stars of 2015/16, or Vitesse Arnhem’s stars of tomorrow, are scattered all around Europe.
Here’s a full list of Chelsea’s loanees.
· Ryan Bertrand – Aston Villa
· Thibaut Courtois – Atletico Madrid
· Todd Kane – Blackburn Rovers
· George Saville – Brentford
· Ulises Davila – Cordoba
· Romelu Lukaku – Everton
· Matej Delac – FK Sarejevo
· Wallace – Inter Milan
· Jhon Pirez – Leganes
· Victor Moses –Liverpool
· Kenneth Omeruo – Middlesbrough
· Nathaniel Chalobah – Middlesbrough
· Stipe Perica – NAC Breda
· Billy Clifford – Royal Antwerp
· Marko Marin – Sevilla
· Kurt Zouma– St. Etienne
· Oriol Romeu – Valencia
· Milan Lalkovic – Walsall
· Josh McEachran – Wigan Athletic
· Thorgan Hazard – Zulte Waregem