Jul 12, 2015

4 players who Chelsea have destroyed with loans

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Chelsea’s loan system has become a running joke amongst many football fans. Vitesse Arnhem have a cute little settlement with the West London giants where they manage to cream off the best of their young players and use them to climb up the Eredivisie.

Recently, Lewis Baker and Nathan Aké have both been promised moves away to Vitesse, and a season in Holland has become the final nail in the coffin for any young player. Unfortunately, it is not just a move to the Netherlands that is a curse for a Chelsea man, as a trip around the UK seems to have a similar fate.

Down the years at Chelsea the academy has received significant investment from a certain Russian billionaire but the club are continuing to see it as a means to comply with FFP rather than cultivate their best youngsters into first team superstars. Success at Under 18 and Under 21 levels is not rare for the West Londoners and the products from each year continue to look like some of the best in Europe; yet there is no progress to the first-team set up and Chelsea are beginning to run into home-grown problems.

Chelsea’s greatest problem is developing players from academy success to the first-team and the loan system has not helped to bridge that gap. A lack of patience and trust does not see first team responsibility given, but sees players alienated and the time from 19 to 22 sees very little development for many players who remain on Chelsea’s books.

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Chelsea’s lust to loan has damaged endless players and Lewis Baker is likely to be the next man on that list, so here are Four more who the Blues ruined with loans:

Gael Kakuta – The most infamous of career slides at Chelsea, Kakuta was brought to Cobham under severely controversial circumstances that nearly saw the Blues face a transfer ban. Kakuta recently completed a permanent move to Sevilla and has, in some ways, rescued his career that looked to be getting slowly destroyed the longer he spent on the loaning merry-go-round at Stamford Bridge.

Kakuta has had a lucky escape, but the potential he showed at the age of 17 was suggesting of a future Ballon D’or competitor not a man who Chelsea would brush aside in a couple of years. Time at Dijon, Rayo Vallecano, Bolton, Fulham, Lazio and the dreaded Vitesse saw Kakuta reach 24 without ending his Chelsea torture. While most players his age and position are reaching their peak, Kakuta is trying to find his feet and his level thanks to the mind games of Chelsea’s addiction to loans.

Michael Mancienne – A bit of a flashback in Michael Mancienne, once a bright hope for Chelsea and England has found a home in Germany. Mancienne is now back in England, his home country, and was lucky to have his time before the Vitesse days but spent over four years out on loan at QPR and Wolves between 2006 and 2011.

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Again, if Chelsea had decided that Mancienne was not up to and would never be up to their standard, the continue loans do nothing of positivity for the player. Mancienne represented England at all the youth levels and his career dramatically stunted when Chelsea needed to give him time, patience is not a virtue at the Bridge.

Josh McEachran –  Perhaps the greatest disappointment in recent years, Josh could have been playing where Cesc Fabregas is for Chelsea currently.

Injuries were cruel to the Oxfordshire-born midfield player but he faced several loans around England before a move to Vitesse last season. Pin point passing compensated for McEachran’s slender physique and he threatened to be a symbol of Chelsea’s changing style of play in the Ancelotti era, instead he was the next on Chelsea’s production line for the rest of the football league.

McEachran got closer to succeeding than perhaps any other has done since John Terry, with several performances in the first team that had people at Cobham excited that their man had finally made it through. The first player to be born after the Champions League started to compete in it was quite an accolade, but that looks to be as far as McEachran’s career will go.

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Nathaniel Chalobah – Maybe due to his domineering size, Chalobah looked leagues ahead of his contemporaries in youth football. Still only 20, Chalobah has not waved goodbye to his top level career just yet, but his recent performance at the Under 21 European Championships did not stand out.

In the days of squad limits, Chalobah’s versatility should assist any career progression. Four Championship loans have had varied success and perhaps if Watford had won promotion during his loan it could have kick-started Chalobah’s career at the highest level.

Another who has played at every representative level, Chalobah may still settle for a comfortable Premier League career but Chelsea’s loan system has done little to let the ex-Reading man develop. Loaning Chalobah may have helped the club make more money when they inevitably sell, but it has damaged the career of a player who looked to have the potential to be England captain.

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Comments to 4 players who Chelsea have destroyed with loans

  • I think the author needs to realise that for every 50 emerging talents only one or two actually make it at the very highest levels. Players like Kakuta would have “failed” no matter where they had played. Having seen him play for (as was) Chelsea’s reserves, he was a lazy player. He had undoubted skill, but I strongly believe that his own attitude has more to do with his lack of progress than anything else. To blame Chelsea’s loan system is just lazy “journalism”
    At 17 or 18 years old, Josh McEachran looked as if he had the world at his feet. He was on the periphery of the Chelsea squad and had played a few times for the first team, including in the Champions League. He had good technique for a player of his age. However, he was also quite slight and against older, stronger players, was often brushed off the ball. Now at 22, he’s not much bigger or stronger than he was 4 years ago. His technique has improved, his positioning has improved, and overall he’s still a good young player with bags of potential. He will become a very good Premiership midfielder for someone… but, he’ll never make it as a first choice starter for any of the top 6 or 7 clubs. That state of affairs would have been true if he’d gone through the Man U academy, or the one at Arsenal, City, Liverpool etc. He may have had a few more starts at those clubs than at Chelsea, but sooner or later he would have been sold to a club at the lower end of the Premiership, or one at the upper end of the Championship. Chelsea’s loan system is not to blame… Josh is good, just not good enough to be a regular starter for a team regularly chasing four trophies every year.

    It’s very easy for people to mock the loan system Chelsea employs. All these talented youngsters farmed out all over the place and then eventually sold off without ever being “given a chance”. Why would any young player ever want to sign for such a club? The fact that many still do is down to the following… apart from everyone (rightly) believing they have the talent to rise to the top, it’s well known in the greater footballing community that the young players at Chelsea are given a well rounded education. They not only train at one of the best facilities in the world, alongside established world class players, with a superb coaching staff and management guiding them, but they also have great academic tutors too. Every young player is constantly assessed, and a “path” devised to get the very best out of them, and to provide them with everything they need to make the best of their talents.

    Often, that “path” requires a loan somewhere to ensure playing time so that they can progress, and also so that the club can asses just how good they are/may become.

    That only maybe one or two out of dozens and dozens may eventually get their hands on a Premiership trophy or an FA Cup shouldn’t be seen as a sign of failure, just a sign of how good you really need to be to play at the very highest levels. Instead, look at all the players who have come through academies at the big clubs, who are plying their trade at a reasonably high level and making more money in a week than many of us earn in a year.

    Bob Singleton July 12, 2015 12:02 pm
    • yup, laughable article. “Chelsea torture”. I mean come on.

      It seems like the point is that no one of these players became the worlds best. Imagine if they’d stayed in the Chelsea team getting almost no playing time, they would all share the ballon d’or this year!!!

      Sevilla, Brentford, playing in Bundesliga but now in the championship (nottingham iirc) and still with Chelsea. It’s not bad at all. They all became proffesional football players and they might still reach new heights despite the torture endured with Chelsea

      // Saelen July 12, 2015 1:39 pm
  • The real issue here is the total lack of reality from people regarding youth development and what constitutes success and failure.

    A player reaches his peak typically at 28 so logically any player who is younger than that is only going to be as good if they are infact going to be better.

    The second factor is that teams like Arsenal have used younger players because they are a cheaper alternative. Very few of these players were schoolboys at Arsenal either.

    There is then the fact that the better the club, the harder it will be to break through because you don’t win things with Kids as Arsenal have been proving over the last decade.

    Steven Pearman July 12, 2015 4:51 pm