Two of Chelsea’s emerging crop of youth talent have both had their futures sealed for the next 12 months.
One making the step up to the Premier League, the other returning to the Championship to continue his education.
Patrick Bamford to Crystal Palace
Bamford has rightfully earned his shot at the Premier League after 3 previous loan spells at MK Dons, Derby County and his latest at Middlesbrough.
Last season seemed to be something of a coming-of-age for him, playing a key role in propelling Boro into the play-off final and just falling short at the final hurdle. It probably says a lot that he wasn’t 100% fit for that game yet he was rushed back in the hope he’d be the difference once again.
Unfortunately it looked to be the case that his injury got the better of him and he wasn’t to be on the winning side.
Fast forward a couple of months amid rumours of an Aston Villa permanent move, Bamford has now agreed to join Crystal Palace on loan for the season. Personally I think it’s a great move for the player, he gets to remain in London and he joins an exciting Crystal Palace team that could go on to perform really well this year.
Let’s hope that he gets the game time that his past 3 loan moves have justified and I know I’m excited as anyone to see him finally get his chance on the biggest stage.
Tomas Kalas to Middlesbrough
Kalas meanwhile will return to Boro on loan for a second season. A mainstay in Boro’s defence for the second half of last season after joining in January, Kalas seems to be a splendid talent and is gaining invaluable experience under the stewarsdship of Aitor Karanka.
There’s a feeling in general that Premier League central defenders, particularly at Chelsea’s level, will take that little bit longer to develop than their attacking counterparts.
There’s little more exciting that seeing a new, young attacking talent being given license to exhibit his skills knowing that his errors will be mopped up by his numerous team-mates behind him. There’s no such thing playing a centre half. A mistake will likely see you concede and there’s often little doubt as to who’s at fault.
So nurturing the 22-year-old Kalas in the Championship is a smart move. Karanka himself used to play centre half for Real Madrid and sets his teams up to be defensively solid first and foremost, so there’s not going to be many better mentors for Kalas at this stage in his career.
We’ll be keeping a keen eye on both players as their paths take different routes this season and, given they have the chance, I’m convinced we’ll see some stellar performances from both.