There is perhaps no other side in the world with as much quality currently out on loan as Chelsea. With Kevin De Bruyne, Romelu Lukaku, Thibaut Courtois, Michael Essien and the trio of talent at Vitesse, they have almost a full side complementing first teams around Europe.
Thibaut Courtois stands out as one the most highly rated young goalkeepers in Europe, and it will be very interesting how Chelsea look to keep hold of the 20 year old Belgian over the next few years. Courtois is halfway through his second season on loan at Atletico, where he has replaced David De Gea to great effect. Courtois won the Europa League last season, and is impressing again as Atletico sit second in La Liga this time around. Clearly he is not a man who will be content to warm the bench at Chelsea when his loan spell finishes.
The problem for Chelsea is that however good Courtois looks, he is trying to oust Petr Cech from between the sticks. Cech is only thirty, and clearly not in decline, producing some of the best performances of his stellar career as Chelsea won the Champions League last season. You could easily see him carrying on as Chelsea's number one for five or six seasons, and Courtois will want to be playing first team football in that period.
One suggestion has been that the Belgian will be loaned to an English club next season so he can start adjusting to the Premiership, but there has also been rumours of interest from Barcelona. It's difficult to see why they would come in for Courtois at this stage, as Victor Valdes is only 30 himself, but if they are offering a chance at first team football sooner than Chelsea can, then Courtois' head could be turned.
Perhaps Chelsea didn't expect Courtois to develop so quickly, and that he would be content playing under Cech for several more seasons. But it's already clear that Courtois is ready for first team football at the highest level, and Chelsea face a real dilemma in keeping him happy until they are ready to give him the gloves.