Chelsea are a notorious club for many reasons. Success, managers, transfer follies, Hazard, Kante, iconic players such as Lampard and Drogba but perhaps most notably in the football world, the loan army rallied by Roman Abramovich & Marina Granovskaia.
Most readers are or are now aware that Chelsea have had a transfer ban placed upon them by FIFA due to the illegal signing of youth players. Some fans might see this as a blessing and some may see it as a curse. It should be considered to be both. The club have the perfect remedy to this ban – forty-one players out on loan. The question remains however, if these players are good enough to fill in, in the long term and the short term.
To begin, Chelsea have a well-documented issue at centre-forward. The club brought in Gonzalo Higuain by way of a loan signing from AC Milan & Juventus, and aside from the two goals he put in against relegation side Huddersfield, he has not had a nearly strong enough impact to remain at Chelsea or in the starting XI. Higuain has lamented the physical prowess of Premier League defenders lately for his struggles, but it’s hard to defend this notion. He was neutralised by a harder working Cardiff side at the weekend and that alone should be worrying for manager Sarri and fans alike. Conversely, Olivier Giroud despite not having a consistent goal contribution has apparently outworked his Argentinian counterpart, evidenced by the manager’s selection trend recently and managed to score from a Hudson-Odoi cross midweek vs Brighton.
Aside from that, the club are currently left out to dry with Willian and Pedro as the two tenured wingers not named Eden Hazard. Willian and Pedro have been painfully average but yield enough production to warrant staying as long as they do not create a roadblock for Callum Hudson-Odoi, who while much younger has been twice as productive on the pitch.
Chelsea have also been plagued by a leaky defence this season, more often than not headed by a back four of Antonio Rudiger, Marcos Alonso, David Luiz, and Cesar Azpilicueta. Of this quartet, Azpilicueta has been the safest bet having played almost every minute of Chelsea’s campaign thus far before his substitution for Davide Zappacosta midweek vs Brighton. The club captain has been noticeably out of form this season but has had flashes of his former consistent self. His future is certain for now and it will be interesting to see how the rest of the season plays out for him. The other three have been somewhere between shocking and average most nights for varying reasons. Rudiger is unable to mark a parked car, Luiz carelessly or effortlessly dives into tackles and gets caught out frequently, and Alonso has no defensive work rate and is often culpable for ruining counter attacks.
As for midfield, there is no real flaws of note. Fans should expect to see Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Ross Barkley, N’Golo Kante and Jorginho back next season while Danny Drinkwater and Mateo Kovacic are not expected to return. It’s entirely possible prospects Ethan Ampadu and Andreas Christensen see time at defensive midfield, where they have featured and bossed for their respective national teams.
With that being said, here are Chelsea’s on-loan solutions to the currently imposed transfer ban that can help in the short term and long term that you can expect to hear from next season.
*Statistics are correct as of 5 April 2019 for current club
● Tammy Abraham, ST, England, Aston Villa (33 GP, 22 G, 2 A)
● Michy Batshuayi, ST, Belgium, Crystal Palace (8 GP, 2 G )
● Christian Pulisic, W, United States, Borussia Dortmund (33 GP, 7 G, 4 A)
● Kenedy, W/WB, Brazil, Newcastle United (24 GP, 1 G, 1 A)
● Mason Mount, CM, England, Derby County (31 GP, 7 G, 4 A)
● Tiemoue Bakayoko, CDM, Milan AC (34 GP, 1 G)
● Kurt Zouma, CB, Everton
● Ola Aina, RB, Torino
● Fikayo Tomori, CB, Derby County
● Reece James, RB, Wigan Athletic
● Jay Dasilva, LB, Bristol City
To fit these young players in, the club must make space by selling ones that no longer belong. Keep in mind this is only a hypothetical and if these players were to earn time, it
comes at the expense of the ones that are currently taking the pitch at Chelsea. The
following are players to not expect back next season:
● Gonzalo Higuain
● Pedro Rodriguez
● Danny Drinkwater
● Mateo Kovacic
● Davide Zappacosta
● David Luiz
If Roman’s Army are to fold, the fans should have confidence in the manager and the club heading into the 2019/20 season. Maurizio Sarri has taken a real turn in his managerial spell at Chelsea handing opportunities to youngsters (against Brighton), and he will be well equipped to do so again next season. The club will have an influx of talented young players back at Cobham for the preseason throughout the summer and should they see the pitch, we’ll have a lot of football to look forward to, with or without a transfer ban.