Chelsea have one of the biggest loan armies in the world. They currently have 26 players out on loan, including some of the brightest young talents in the world. However, others are simply on loan to most likely transition away from Chelsea in the long term. I would like to focus on the possible future first team Chelsea players, as there is some real potential amongst the batch.
Christian Atsu was acquired from FC Porto in September of Mourinho’s homecoming. He joined Vitesse Arnhem for the rest of the season and performed very well there. He is a leftfooted winger, or he can even play as a second striker. Atsu made his debut for Ghana in June of 2012, scoring in a World Cup qualifier against Lesotho. He then became a regular. Atsu is currently on loan to Everton where he is playing a bit-part role for the Toffees. While opportunities have been few and far between at Everton, the Ghanaian has failed to impress with the limited time he has received. However, Atsu not only had a brilliant World Cup, but also was named the Player of the Tournament at the 2015 African Cup of Nations. Therefore, it is easy to see that the potential is there. When Atsu is at his best, there is no doubt he can be a deadly asset to any team he lines up with. Hopefully next season, Atsu can go out on loan to a team where he will play more, and will flourish. For now, while he is clearly talented, his future at Chelsea remains to be seen,
Patrick Bamford is the most exciting Chelsea talent on loan in my opinion. The Englishman is currently on loan to Middlesbrough where the striker is flourishing. He has 16 goals in all competitions this season. Taking a closer look at those goals, they have come against big opponents in important games, such as against Manchester City in the FA Cup. What makes Bamford so intriguing is his clinical finishing ability. Even in Chelsea’s pre-season in 2014, Bamford made several appearances and looked quite deadly leading Chelsea’s line. He seems to have that striker’s instinct, which is a trait that cannot be coached. I would like to see Bamford instated as Chelsea’s third choice striker next season if Drogba chooses to retire. I think he would do well learning from strikers like Costa and Remy, with Drogba most likely remaining around the first team as a coach as well. I believe Bamford could make a Harry Kane like impact in the next few seasons.
Out of all the outgoing loanees, Kalas had one of the most underwhelming starts to his season. He started the season at FC Cologne in the Bundesliga. He received little to no minutes and was switched to Middlesbrough in the Championship in order to seek more playing time. Since moving to Middlesbrough, the Czech international has been demonstrating why he is so highly rated by Mourinho. He has played in all most all the games he has been available. He is a central defender, but also can play right back, which seems to be his position at Middlesbrough. His new coach, Aitor Karanka has said that Kalas has solved his problems at right back. That is pretty good praise for a young defender that had such a miserable start to the season. Chelsea fans will most notably remember Kalas from his sublime performance at Anfield last season. When Chelsea started pretty much a backup squad against Liverpool in a big game, Kalas made his first start for the Blues alongside Ivanovic at CB. He looked like he had been there all season. Kalas is undoubtedly talented, and if Chelsea can continue to find places for him to gain playing time and experience, then he could be a future partner for Kurt Zouma in Chelsea’s back four, or at least a starting fullback.
Bertrand Traore has impressed in every Chelsea test he has received thus far. Firstly, he spent time with Chelsea in last year’s preseason. During that preseason trial, he scored several goals for the Blues. The young African has spent the last season and a half on loan to Chelsea’s partner club, Vitesse Arnhem. Traore has scored 16 goals in his time in Holland. He has become a key player for the Vitesse, while also demonstrating how valuable he could be for Chelsea. Traore is a traditionally a right winger, but can be used at various positions as well. There is no doubt that Traore is one to watch for the Blues. I believe that it is just a matter of time until he is incorporated into the Blue’s first team. At minimum, I am sure that Chelsea will find a loan for him next season that will give him an even harder test.
Marco Van Ginkel
Van Ginkel is the most unfortunate Chelsea signing in the last two seasons. The Dutch international came from Vitesse with a strong reputation as the potential long-term Lampard replacement. At just 21 at the time, Van Ginkel came to Chelsea and was immediately integrated into the Blue’s first team. However, in his first match for the Blues, after looking quite confident on the ball, a tough tackle by a Swindon Town player would end his night early. The Dutchman tore his ACL and was essentially out for the rest of the season, other than a few decent performances for the academy teams towards the end of the season. This season, he is out on loan at AC Milan, and has only featured in 8 games. Although initially this was due to an injury, he is recently just not being selected. Van Ginkel has no doubt slowed his progress, and is too old to play for the academy next season. However, I am positive that at full health, working with a strong coach, he is a player that is brimming with talent. I would love to see Chelsea bring him back and make him a first team player next season. Van Ginkel would reap benefits of Mourinho and several talented midfielders (Fabregas, Matic, Oscar) working with him. I think he could play a big role for the Blues next season.
Rather than making a big signing in the CDM next season, promote Van Ginkel and Ruben Loftus-Cheek, and allow them to battle for time. This will inevitably bring out the best in most of Chelsea’s midfielders, as competition usually has that effect. However, I don’t know if this will occur. I have a greater feeling that Van Ginkel will never really get his chance with the Blues, and that is something that we will regret
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