Chelsea have a vast and large squad full of talent young and old and that competition for places sometimes sees it within the best interests of both club and player to send members of that squad out on loan deals. These ventures are seen as ideal opportunities for talented individuals within the squad to gain regular first-team football and return to the club as a more progressed talent; and nearer to first team football.
Three players currently farmed out by Chelsea are Belgian internationals and while on one hand the idea that this talented trio is gaining first team experience would suggest that these deals are of a real benefit to the club; unless they enjoy their time away a little too much. The three players in question are Thibaut Courtois, Romelu Lukaku and Kevin De Bruyne who are currently out on season long deals with Atletico Madrid, West Brom and Werder Bremen respectively.
All three have had exceptional spells away from the club. Kevin De Bruyne has become a feared Bundesliga winger, Courtois is considered one of the best goalkeepers in Spain and Lukaku has helped fire West Brom to one of their best ever Premier League starts. The only problem that arises is when it appears the players in question decide they want to stay at their farm clubs.
There are already rumours that De Bruyne does not want to return Chelsea; favouring to stay with Werder Bremen while the likes of Schalke 04 circle. Now Courtois has stated his desire to remain in Madrid next season; it would be his THIRD season away from The Bridge on loan:
‘I am Chelsea player, but I am happy here. I’ll have to see what is best for them but I would be very happy if I stayed here for another year. I still haven’t spoken to Chelsea though. If I can’t play for them, then Atletico is the best club I can be at.It would be important for me and the club to make the Champions League next season. I am very happy here.'
Hardly sounds like a man chomping at the bit to return to Chelsea and while Petr Cech is now into his 30’s he certainly has more than one or two years left in him so it begs the question; just how long does Courtois wait for his chance in London?
Lukaku on the other hands seems even happier than his international goalkeeper team-mate in the Midlands. Adamant not to spend another season watching from the side-lines he had this to say:
'At this time I'm just looking at my own career and West Brom, I don't really care about what Chelsea are doing at the moment. You have to be in a good environment. Where I am now is similar to when I was in Anderlecht – nice people who want you to improve, where everyone is open to you. That's why I have settled very well here. I went from two years playing regular football in the Europa League, Champions League, then one year I didn't play [at Chelsea].’
So while on the face of it may seem that Chelsea have played masterstrokes by letting three of their most precocious young talents enjoy spells away from the club it seems it may come back to bite them in the long run.
Do you think Chelsea will lose any of their loan stars?
image: © wshjackson