What ever happened to Chelsea’s talented loan stars?
Premier League giants Chelsea (6/4 with Coral to retain the Premier League) are famed for farming out youngsters or importing promising talent on the cheap and then selling on for a princely sum, with this summer set to be no exception.
Currently Blues academy products Isaiah Brown, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Dominic Solanke are the talk of the town, but what happened to the generation of prospects before them?
The likes of Patrick Bamford may yet move on this summer after a storming season in the Championship, while Mohamed Salah is also attracting interest, but what has happened to other talents, with several flung further afield? We pick out five who were tipped for the top but have stalled at Stamford Bridge.
Kakuta was once one of the Blues’ most highly-rated attacking midfield prospects, but the French winger, now 23, seemed unable to transfer his talent from youth level to senior, being shipped-off on six loan stints in total, including one where he made just two outings for Serie A side Lazio.
The wideman’s most recent spell abroad with Rayo Vallecano was considerably more successful, as his five goals and seven assists in 35 outings have reportedly attracted the attention of Spanish giants Sevilla, who are set to snap-up the free agent.
Midfielder McEachran was believed to be England’s next big thing, another diminutive playmaker with the vision and technique to be the Three Lions’ future. Things have not quite panned out that way for the 22-year-old yet, however, and the youngster’s Blues chances now look bleak.
Having been effectively exiled from Stamford Bridge since 2012, McEachran is not in the mould of a dynamic Jose Mourinho player, and his most recent spell abroad with Chelsea feeder club Vitesse failed to return a spark to his career. Can McEachran still be a late bloomer? With his Scottish parents, perhaps a jaunt up north could be the answer.
See why McEachran was so highly-rated:
Nigeria international Omeruo may have more of a shot than most on this list of one day plying his trade for Chelsea’s starting XI. Having represented his country in both the Africa Cup of Nations and World Cup with distinction, at just 21, the centre back looks a real prospect.
A few strong performances are no guarantee however, just ask Tomas Kalas. Having spent two seasons settled with Middlesbrough, though, almost helping them to Premier League promotion, determined Omeruo thinks he is ready for the top tier.
“I’ve gained great experience and wait for the chance to be in the Premier League next season. I’m confident I can break into Chelsea’s first team at some point,” the 21-year-old told media, though Chelsea’s apparent tracking of Real Madrid defender Raphael Varane could pose a problem.
Piazon was so far behind in the pecking order of attacking midfield talent in west London, with the likes of Eden Hazard, Oscar and Willian way ahead, that a loan move for the Brazilian young-gun, likened to Kaka, was inevitable.
Accomplished if unspectacular temporary stints with Malaga and Vitesse showed potential but Eintracht Frankfurt proved to be a stumbling block, providing limited chances and added defensive duties that stifled the South American schemer. A return to the Bridge may not be in his best interests, though Italy’s slower pace could make for an ideal stage.
Check out Piazon’s skills:
Marco van Ginkel
Netherlands international Van Ginkel arrived from Vitesse with high hopes pinned to his all-action box-to-box style, but a serious injury put paid to the now 22-year-old’s Blues and Clockwork Orange plans.
Having put that spot of bad luck behind him, Van Ginkel spent this past season with AC Milan, making 18 appearances in what was a disappointing campaign for both club and player, but may now have the chance to re-establish himself in England.
Should a return to champions Chelsea (8/1 to win the Champions League) not work out, with a host of midfielders already blocking the 22-year-old’s path, Steve McClaren is said to be targeting the Dutch dynamo for Newcastle United.