The Chelsea Loan Army

Juan Cuadrado Juventus

A hefty 31 players are on Chelsea’s books and are out on loan. This is clearly their new policy but has it been beneficial?

The same way the dragons on dragon’s den put their money in multiple businesses and it only takes one or two to really take off and they will recoup their money 10 fold, that’s how it seems Roman Abramovic is approaching the loaning system.

If he can buy Thibaut Courtois for £6.7 million, loan him to Atletico Madrid where he established himself as one of the best keepers in the world at the tender age of 21, he now has a player who can play for Chelsea for the next 10-15 years instead of paying £20 million for a player of his quality and if Chelsea do decide to sell they will certainly get more than the £6.7 million they paid (newspapers claim Chelsea have set a £73 million asking price).

The same goes for many players who Chelsea bought cheap and sold for a profit, Kevin De Bruyne, Romelu Lukaku, Thorgan Hazard, Oriol Romeu even Daniel Sturridge to a lesser degree.

The facts are the Chelsea board know they can’t rely on Roman’s billions for ever and are working their way to being self-sufficient, doing a pretty good job at it if we’re being honest.

New year and another new manager for Chelsea, Antonio Conte will certainly be given the funds he needs to bring in players he wants and he might also bring some players back from loan.

I’m sure Conte has been watching this squad closely since his appointment in April and with the league finish if I was any of those players I would be worried, with the exception for Willian, Fabregas, Hazard and Costa it could be argued everyone else is up for grabs.

Conte has already expressed his fondness of Juan Cuadrado who is on loan at Conte’s former club Juventus who Conte actually wanted to bring to Juventus during his time there.

Loan Squad
But the Chelsea loan army is like a team (or three) of its own, even the players who they don’t feel will be in the first team when they come back have their own separate training.

Chelsea have over 30 players on loan and yes this policy is questionable but with young players not yet ready for the first team, loaning them out to gain valuable first team experience is understandable but some players clearly have no future at Chelsea have no reason to still be on loan.

In terms of Juan Cuadrado he clearly has the quality to be in Chelsea’s first team but his first season with the club didn’t go to plan so bringing him back makes sense.

Doing good at your loan club doesn’t even mean you’ll be considered – Thorgan Harard won Belgium player of the year in 2013 before being sold and Patrick Bamford was named Sky Bet Championship Player of the Year 2015 yet went back out on loan.

Time to move on
Victor Moses, Lucas Piazon, Michael Hector, Christian Atsu, Papy Djilobodji and Marco van Ginkel are far from bad players but are they at the Chelsea level?

Well with Chelsea’s season this year and the poor form of Pedro most of the season, could Victor Moses who looked great in preseason done a better job, we will never know but if they’re not going to be considered now after the horrid season Chelsea just had then it’s time for them to move on.

Time to bring back
Out of all the kids on loan who actually has the potential to start or at least be a squad player for Chelsea? In my opinion:

1. Lewis Baker
2. Nathan Ake
3. Andreas Christensen
4. Tomas Kalas
5. Patrick Bamford

Honourable mentions: Jeremie Boga, Charly Musonda and Nathaniel Chalobah

It’s no surprise 3 of the top 5 players are defenders. Chelsea conceded 53 goals this season and only kept 9 clean sheets, compare that to the 2004-2005 season where they won the league and conceded only 15 goals and kept 25 clean sheets.

I firmly believe if it wasn’t for Kurt Zouma’s horrific injury those number would have been much better but Chelsea have to do much better.

An aging but still quality John Terry but he is not the same player that formed that steel partnership with Ricardo Carvalho.

Gary Cahill, Baba Rahman and Branislav Ivanovic are simply not good enough if Chelsea want to win the league or Champions League. A back four of Ake, Zouma, Christensen and Cesar Azpilicueta would have enough energy, speed, height and defensive ability to keep more than 9 clean sheets.

The only problem with that is Christensen is on a 2-year loan will spend another year at Borussia Monchengladbach but it’s been reported that Chelsea have promised him a place in the team once his loan is over but Kalas would be a great squad player in case of injury or suspension.

Lewis Baker reminded Chelsea what he can do at the Toulon Tournament with the England U21’s this year, finishing the competition as the top scorer. Lewis is nothing short of a dead ball specialist, can use both feet and scores his fair share of goals and his home-grown status is certainly a plus.

Patrick Bamford if anything deserves a chance to at least be the third striker at Chelsea, a proven goal scorer at multiple levels and at the end of the day Chelsea saw something in him otherwise they wouldn’t have bought him in the first place.

Not personal just business
At the end of the day, I don’t think it’s fair these players are being bought by Chelsea and are excited about playing for the club to end up never playing for the club.

Instead being shipped out to different clubs and countries for years and years but in defence of Chelsea, they only want the best and almost every young player has the potential to be great but not many reach that level and it’s not Chelsea’s obligation to play these players or even nurture them (even though that’s what football clubs were once about) and it’s a business at the end of the day.