This weekend’s loan round-up is slightly briefer and shorter than usual, because the heavy cold snap in the UK has meant a complete whitewash of any potential loanee action over the last seven days. There is, however, some news on the loanees themselves.
The turn of the year saw the expirations of some deals, and Rhys Taylor, Patrick van Aanholt, Jack Cork, Jacob Mellis and Liam Bridcutt have all returned to Chelsea. Nana Ofori-Twumasi is due to finish up at Dagenham & Redbridge in the coming days, and Tom Taiwo has been sold permanently to Carlisle United after a highly impressive first half to the season at Brunton Park. All of this means that the club currently only has seven loanees, compared to a season-high fourteen at one stage.
Those numbers could rise again, but the situation has certainly changed for at least two players. Mellis and van Aanholt are hoping to help Carlo Ancelotti’s squad throughout January, as the club have requested the return of both players, but Youth Team Manager Dermot Drummy revealed the true reason for their presence at Cobham for the second half of the season:
‘Certainly in Patrick’s case there would be a qualification issue for the Champions League next season and being registered as a home-grown player, so that would be a factor in his development for the next six months – he may have to stay here to be eligible.
‘Jacob Mellis has returned from Southampton and will be here until the end of the season. His scenario is similar to Patrick, in that he came quite late to Chelsea so there is a factor in the qualification as a home-grown player for the Champions League, where the rules are always changing and you need a certain number of home-grown players on your list.
‘The likelihood at the moment is that he will finish the season playing with the reserves and training with the first-team when he has the opportunity.’
With Cork and Bridcutt, however, the rest of the season is likely to be spent elsewhere. Coventry and Chelsea couldn’t agree a deal for Cork to remain at the Ricoh Arena, with the Sky Blues signing Irish midfielder Gary Deegan, but there is scope for him to return there if a deal can be thrashed out. If not, there is interest from elsewhere and the intention will be to get him out to what would potentially be his sixth temporary club. Bridcutt has been suffering from a knee injury which saw him return to Chelsea for treatment and his loan deal expire, but he too may return to struggling Stockport if there is mutual interest. There is again the opportunity to find a different club, so when he is fit, expect him to find a new home until May.
The second half of the season may present the opportunity for some of the other Reserves to get a loan move to give them greater playing opportunities and further their footballing experience. The likes of Carl Magnay, Nikki Ahmed, Michael Woods, Daniel Philliskirk and at least one of the goalkeepers could be in line for a move as the club continues to push its players to the next level.