Chelsea’s loan army will once again be deployed across European football ahead of the 2021/22 campaign.

Chelsea’s loan army has become a very sophisticated operation over the last decade. Given its size and financial importance to the club, that is hardly any surprise.

Every member within the set-up is carefully monitored and cared for. Performances are analysed and potential on-pitch improvements highlighted by loan officers, such as Carlo Cudicini, Paulo Ferreira and Tore Andre Flo, and communication is constant via WhatsApp.

There is no overarching strategy to the loan army – it is not the farming of talent operation many perceive. Instead, it tends to be made up of academy graduates taking their early steps in the men’s game, failed first-team signings, and the odd player who didn’t quite have the potential expected when recruited.

The make-up of the loan army will be altered ever so slightly with FIFA introducing limits on overseas loans for players aged 22 and over. Yet changes will not be drastic.

This summer several players will once again leave Chelsea on loan. A couple of have already departed: goalkeeper Nathan Collins has joined Hull City for the 2021/22 campaign while young centre-back Levi Colwill will also spend the season in the Championship with Huddersfield Town.

Others will follow in the weeks ahead. Some will come from the first team, others from the development squad. There may even be the odd youth loan or two.

We’ve picked out ten Chelsea players expected to head out on loan this summer, although there will be others who opt to make a change once pre-season is underway.

This summer may prove to be a pivotal one in the career of the Spaniard, who spent last season as deputy to Edouard Mendy at Stamford Bridge.

Kepa remains the world’s most expensive goalkeeper and still has four years left to run on the contract he signed when Chelsea opted to pay Athletic Club £71million for his services in the summer of 2018.

That does give the Blue some wiggle room in the transfer market, time to try to rebuild Kepa’s value. The easiest way to do that is to loan him out for the 2021/22 campaign and hope he rediscovers his best form.

 

Lazio, now under the guidance of Maurizio Sarri, are a potential suitor. And while Chelsea may have to pay a large portion of the Spain international’s wages if he was to temporarily move to the Italian side, it may prove beneficial in the long run, as explained here.

Jamie Cumming

Having spent the 2019/20 campaign as Chelsea’s third-choice goalkeeper, Cumming embarked on his first senior loan last summer and joined Stevenage.

The 21-year-old would go on to make 47 appearances in all competitions for the League Two side and produced a series of commanding and composed performances; he also went on a six-game run without conceding between February and March.

Cumming will return to Chelsea for pre-season but is expected to depart on loan once more to continue his development.

“I want to keep improving, to keep testing myself,” Cumming explained in an interview with football.london last season.

“And that will mean going out on loan again, which I am fully on board with because the experience I’ve had this year has been great. I think I am ready to test myself at a higher level. We’ll see what happens.”

Ethan Ampadu

It’s easy to forget that Ampadu will not celebrate his 21st birthday until September; he still has plenty of time on his hands to make it as a Chelsea player.

The last two seasons have not been simple for the Wales international, however. He spent the 2019/20 campaign on loan at RB Leipzig and barely played. And while he made 29 appearances at Sheffield United last term, he did so in a side that will go down as one of the poorest to have competed in the Premier League.

Ampadu will return to Chelsea for pre-season next month, although a little later than several other 2020/21 loanees due to his participation in the European Championships.

There will be an opportunity to impress Thomas Tuchel but what the 20-year-old is likely to need is another loan and preferably with a stable Premier League side for whom Amapdu can truly show off his array of talents.

Malang Sarr

Recruited on a free transfer having left Nice last summer, Sarr’s signing always felt one of opportunity for Chelsea. That belief was further heightened by the fact he was immediately sent out on loan to Porto.

The 22-year-old’s stint in Portugal wasn’t hugely successful. While there was a notable appearance in the Champions League away at Juventus, Sarr wasn’t able to hold down a regular starting berth at the Estadio do Dragao.

Pre-season, which will begin in a little over a week’s time, was expected to be Sarr’s chance to prove himself to Tuchel. However, he has now been named in France’s Olympic squad and will be in Tokoyo for much of Chelsea’s preparations for the new campaign.

If France reach the final, Sarr will not return until early August. And that makes it extremely likely that Chelsea look to send him out on loan once more rather than try to incorporate him into the first-team set-up.

Henry Lawrence

Lawrence was something of a cheat code for the development squad last season. If there was a position that needed filling, no matter where on the pitch, then the 19-year-old could be dropped into it and relied upon to produce a strong performance.

Such versatility is a huge plus at a young age but the question will come as to where Lawrence eventually settles, what position he makes his own.

The best way for that to be answered maybe a loan move. Lawrence certainly has the ability and temperament to step into a Championship side or step out of English football and test himself on the continent.

Ian Maatsen

The 19-year-old, who made his first-team debut under Frank Lampard during the 2019/20 campaign, spent last season on loan with Charlton Athletic in League One.

Maatsen impressed for the Addicks – predominantly at left-back but also further forward when needed – to such an extent that the club’s manager, Nigel Adkins, would be keen to see the Netherlands youth international return next season.

“I was very impressed,” he told the South London Press. “I would imagine that both [Maatsen and Liverpool loanee Liam Millar] will go on loan again next season to Championship clubs. However, if that doesn’t happen then we would certainly be interested in bringing them back.”

Maatsen’s path at Chelsea is currently blocked by Ben Chilwell, Marcos Alonso and Emerson Palmieri, although there is a strong chance the latter two depart this summer if the right bid arrives.

Yet Maatsen isn’t ready for the Blues’ first team just yet. A Championship loan, as mentioned by Atkins, maybe on the cards but a temporary move abroad shouldn’t be ruled out either.

Lewis Bate

The midfielder has been highly thought of within the Chelsea academy for several years and football.london understands there is interest in Bate from clubs in the Championship.

However, the 18-year-old’s next step is very much predicated on what happens with his contract. Bate’s current deal expires next summer and the Blues will not loan out a young player without the guarantee they will return to Stamford Bridge next summer.

There’s little doubt he has outgrown development football, but he may remain with the Chelsea Under-23s next term if a deal can’t be struck with the youngster.

Billy Gilmour

This summer was always going to be an important one in Gilmour’s development. Either he would be guaranteed further minutes at Chelsea next season or he would leave on loan. The latter scenario is set to play out.

football.london understands Gilmour, who impressed in his sole Euro 2020 outing for Scotland, is set to complete a season-long loan move to Norwich City in the coming days.

The move to Carrow Road would likely have already been completed had Gilmour not tested positive for Covid-19 while on international duty and been forced into self-isolation for ten days.

Trevoh Chalobah

The younger brother of Nathaniel, another Blues academy graduate who is now at Watford, Trevoh impressed last season on loan in Ligue 1 at Lorient.

A composed figure with the ball, Chalobah’s nimble footwork stood out in the French side’s midfield and he was also able to display his full passing range; one particularly eye-catching 50-yard pass resulted in a goal for Terem Moffi against Bordeaux.

Like many others on this list, the 21-year-old will be involved in the early weeks of Chelsea’s pre-season campaign and, with Billy Gilmour set to join Norwich City on loan, Tuchel will likely have a close eye on Chalobah as he considers a potential in-house replacement.

Armando Broja

The Albanian international’s first season away from Chelsea was a huge success. Broja spent the 2020/21 campaign with Vitesse and struck 11 goals in all competitions for the Dutch side. Not bad for a 19-year-old.

Broja will return to Chelsea for pre-season in the next fortnight and Tuchel will evaluate the forward, who could be incorporated into the first-team set-up if the likes of Tammy Abraham and Olivier Giroud depart this summer amid interest from Aston Villa and AC Milan.

It would take some leap of faith from Tuchel, however. Broja, who made his first-team debut under Frank Lampard, may be better served to maintain his momentum and development elsewhere for the 2021/22 season and then returning to Stamford Bridge next summer to try to force his way into the senior squad.

Yet with Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Conor Gallagher also in contention, it may be that Chalobah departs on loan once more. A year in the Premier League may be on the cards.

By Funfair

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