Chelsea’s loan army has been a point of discussion for several years.
Some appreciate its value in ensuring young players are exposed to senior football at a key stage of their development. Others believe it is player hoarding and bad for football.
Yet the success enjoyed by Tammy Abraham, Mason Mount, Reece James and Fikayo Tomori this term is testament to the loan system. And there will be several players hoping to break into Frank Lampard’s first-team squad next season after time away from Stamford Bridge.
But who realistically could do so? We’ve run the rule over the entire loan army. So settle in.
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Goalkeepers Nathan Baxter (on loan at Ross County)
A shoulder injury sustained in pre-season kept the 21-year-old stopper out until November. He’s made 14 appearances for the Scottish Premiership strugglers since but will be behind Jamie Cumming and Nicolas Tie on his return to Stamford Bridge. Another loan move beckons in 2020/21.
Jamal Blackman (on loan at Bristol Rovers)
At 26 years old, it’s clear Blackman doesn’t have a long-term future at Chelsea. He joined Bristol Rovers on loan in January and a permanent move away when the 2019/20 campaign ends is likely.
Defenders Ethan Ampadu (on loan at RB Leipzig)
The 19-year-old has made only two starts for the German club this season – both in the Champions League – but he will have benefited from being coached by Julian Nagelsmann for a season. Has the ability to impress in Chelsea first-team squad and could be a useful option next term given he can play in defence and midfield.
Juan Castillo (on loan at Ajax)
After three years in England, Castillo returned to Ajax last summer and the Dutch giants are expected to make the move permanent when the 2019/20 campaign ends.
Trevoh Chalobah (on loan at Huddersfield Town)