The first full Loan Report of 2012 is somewhat abridged, but a host of new faces have embarked upon spells away from Chelsea since the Christmas break, and are likely to be followed by more as the month of January wears on.
Gael Kakuta and Josh McEachran lead the way in high-profile moves, with Kakuta swapping Bolton for Dijon in France and McEachran heading away from Stamford Bridge for the first time to join Brendan Rodgers at Swansea until the end of the season.
Neither were available for their new sides this weekend (both Dijon and Swansea won at home) but will begin training in earnest on Monday in hope of a starting berth next weeekend.
One man who did make his debut this weekend was left-back Ben Gordon. The 20 year-old had a short stop at Peterborough United earlier this season but was recalled when it transpired that manager Darren Ferguson was not intending to use him on a regular basis.
Instead, he has returned to Kilmarnock in the Scottish Premier League, where he spent a successful six months at the start of 2010-11. A new manager is in place at Rugby Park since he was last there, with Kenny Shiels replacing Mixu Paatelainen, but he was involved from the off away to Aberdeen on Saturday.
Killie earned a 0-0 draw and Ben played the duration of the match, aiding his team’s clean sheet and offering a regular attacking threat. He appears to have carried on where he left off and is firmly a fan favourite already.
Back over the border in England, Rhys Taylor suffered his first defeat as a Rotherham United player as Andy Scott’s team went down 2-1 at home to high-flying Swindon Town.
The Welshman is in the middle of an initial month-long deal with the Millers which is likely to be extended, particularly as he has started in fairly decent fashion.
A small section of the home support felt he struggled with his kicking in the defeat to Swindon but having impressed with it just the same against Bradford on debut, it may well have been just circumstantial. In any event, Scott looks committed to his man and is set to retain him for a longer look.
Moving onto continental Europe and to Spain, where the winter break appears to have served Thibaut Courtois well. After a fantastic performance last weekend the Belgian kept a clean sheet this Sunday in a comfortable 3-0 home win over Villarreal.
The decision to sack manager Gregorio Manzano and replace him with Diego Simeone has had no impact on Courtois’ chances of playing and he has already spoken of his comfort at the club and willingness to return there next season.
Courtois this week also finished third in the voting for the 2011 Belgian football Golden Shoe award, handed out to the most impressive player in Belgian football over the calendar year.
Jeffrey Bruma, Tomas Kalas, Ulises Dávila and Matej Delac are all still on winter breaks but Bruma and Kalas at least have been regularly involved in a host of friendlies played out by both HSV and Vitesse during their time off.
Bruma noted over the new year that he would not be particularly willing to return to Chelsea at the end of his loan if he wasn’t afforded the opportunity to compete for a starting place. At this stage of his career, having played regularly in a top European league, he feels he needs to play regularly.
Kalas, meanwhile, has had his name circulated as a potential returnee to Vitesse on loan again next season. The club has revealed that they would like to keep him around if possible but are at the behest of Chelsea as the parent club.
Another young centre-back is set to make his way to the Eredivisie later this month as well, with Nigerian teenager Kenneth Omeruo joining from Standard Liege and heading straight to ADO Den Haag for the next eighteen months.
You can keep up to date with Omeruo and everyone else out on loan here every week on TheChels.net, and on Twitter by following @chelseayouth.