The Loan Report: November

The November edition of the Loan Report focuses on the players out there right now who are positioning themselves best to break into Chelsea’s first team squad next season. The 2021-22 campaign might be a long way off just now but, make no mistake, plans are already being made for what comes next.

Conor Gallagher

Chief among the most exciting options right now is Conor Gallagher, who has taken to Premier League football like the proverbial duck to water, and continues to look entirely comfortable with every challenge put in front of him. Consider this; two years ago this past week, he was still playing Development Squad football, with only a dozen appearances to his name at that level and barely three months removed from undergoing a procedure to address an irregular heartbeat. He finished that season as the Academy Player of the Year and hasn’t looked back since; a starring role at Charlton led to a promotion challenge at Swansea City last term, and top-flight opportunities came knocking when he joined West Brom on loan back in September.

This weekend saw him score his first goal at that level in a 1-0 win over Sheffield United, a moment that capped a performance that had manager Slaven Bilic waxing lyrical about his young midfield star.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rrAPmRwzA8s

https://twitter.com/footballdaily/status/1332814559464353795

Young players rarely get thrown into Premier League relegation scraps from the very start; even fewer are trusted with midfield roles, and fewer still consistently play ninety minutes week in and week out. That’s what Conor’s achieved so far at The Hawthorns, though, completing every match he’s started in a blue and white shirt, and asserting himself as someone Bilic can scarcely do without. In terms of a Chelsea future, he’s doing all he can and more, and will be looking at the rest of the season as a chance to make his case for a return to Stamford Bridge to feature under Frank Lampard later in 2021.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek

The midfield down at the Bridge is rather crowded right now, however, which is why Ruben Loftus-Cheek was sent down the road to Fulham at October’s transfer deadline, with Craven Cottage seen as the best place for the injury-hit England international to get regular playing time under his belt at the tail end of his long comeback from a career-threatening torn achilles tendon suffered in a controversial 2019 friendly in the United States. Understandably, he’s had a measured start in Fulham white, starting just twice and playing 193 league minutes so far, but in those minutes he’s been able to showcase that he is by some distance their best player, winning a penalty and scoring a goal in little more than half an hour last time out at home to Everton.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=II9Z0PxiidI

Chelsea fans are often frustrated when they see his name among the substitutes, and manager Scott Parker will have won few friends in references RLC’s ‘tendency to drift’, but Parker may not be long for top-level management and there are still six months of meaningful football for Ruben to play and to find himself in again. This isn’t so much a loan move for him to prove himself, but one for him to get back to a level of fitness that allows him to go back to Chelsea and hit the ground running in 21-22. Yes, he’ll be 25 by then, and will face stiff competition for regular starts again, but at his best he brings something to the table that nobody else can and, as long as that’s the case, he remains a tantalising idea of what could be.

Ethan Ampadu

Completing a trio of Premier League loanees is Ethan Ampadu, who is currently a part of a Sheffield United squad struggling to repeat the incredible job they did as promotion newcomers last season. The Wales international has been deployed as both a holding midfielder and a part of Chris Wilder’s back three, on both the right and left sides, as injury and suspension have led to him becoming something of a utility player in a team that isn’t quite sure what it is any more.

And, to his credit, he’s done fairly well, particularly with his ball progression and play in the build-up phase. The knocks on him right now are to do with lapses of concentration and decision-making in defence, which is to be expected of a 20 year-old in a relegation-threatened side, but he has already shown positive signs that he can overcome those and be an asset in their fight to stay up.

As a blue future for Declan Rice looks increasingly likely, Ampadu will want to show that he can be the cheaper and ready-made alternative, and has the platform to do that between now and May.

Marc Guehi

A recent injury-enforced absence confirmed what everybody already knew; Swansea are a better team when Marc Guehi is in the side. Perhaps the best young defender outside the top-flight, he has been the best part of a defensive unit that has conceded the fewest goals in the Championship this season (just 8 in 14 matches) and is an integral piece of Steve Cooper’s promotion-chasing puzzle.

Operating on the left of a back three gives you an idea of where his Chelsea future might lie and, while comparisons to Fikayo Tomori are easy to make, Guehi is a more assured and laid-back performer by comparison, making everything look easy and playing a very impressive role in the Swans’ ball progression game. Like Tomori, he lacks ideal height, and definitely needs more experience at higher levels both in general and as part of a back four before breaking into Lampard’s plans, but he’s on the right path and making all the right noises.

Elsewhere…

Armando Broja and Iké Ugbo are at different stages of their careers but are both impressing on loan in the Low Countries, scoring a combined twelve times this season at Vitesse and Cercle Brugge respectively. Broja’s astonishing progress over the last fifteen months has continued at pace in Arnhem, where this weekend he scored his fifth goal for a team keeping pace with Ajax at the top of the Eredivisie; a team in which he is now a regular starter in attack.

Ugbo, meanwhile, is building on a comeback season with Roda last year with a breakout display over in Belgium, where his seven goals in eleven matches for Paul Clement’s team has helped to restore a reputation that may have been fading. The Athletic’s Simon Johnson caught up with him recently to talk about how a change of focus both on and off the field helped him to re-find the real Iké Ugbo.

Lewis Baker scored his first goal for Trabzonspor this weekend – a typically Lewis Baker free kick – as he continues to impress and hold down a place in midfield despite the recent departure of Eddie Newton as manager.

https://twitter.com/BRUHTSUNE/status/1332373398413045769

Ross Barkley is out for a few weeks with a hamstring injury, joining the likes of Izzy Brown, Trevoh Chalobah, Jake Clarke-Salter, Tariq Uwakwe and Davide Zappacosta in being sidelined for a chunk of the first half of the season. Brown and Chalobah are firmly back in the fold now, while Clarke-Salter made a long-awaited second debut for Birmingham this past midweek after recovering from a calf injury. Uwakwe hopes to return soon too, while Zappacosta hasn’t played since September 27th as he first missed out due to Covid-19, then a muscle injury picked up as a result of not being able to train or play regularly.

Statistics

Started: August 22nd
Updated: April 18th

Player Club League FA Cup League Cup Europe/Cont Other Mins
Played
Total
Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Ethan Ampadu Sheffield United 24 (2) 0 3 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 2450 27 (2) 0
Tiemoue Bakayoko Napoli 18 (7) 1 2 (2) 0 0 0 5 (2) 0 1 0 2222 26 (9) 1
Lewis Baker Trabzonspor 23 (5) 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 (1) 0 2193 24 (6) 1
Ross Barkley Aston Villa 15 (5) 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1272 15 (5) 3
Michy Batshuayi Crystal Palace 7 (10) 2 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 879 9 (10) 2
Armando Broja Vitesse Arnhem 18 (7) 9 3 (1) 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1866 21 (8) 10
Charlie Brown Union SG 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Isaiah Brown Sheffield Wednesday 4 (15) 0 0 (1) 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 647 5 (16) 0
Juan Castillo AZ Alkmaar 0 (1) 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 6 0 457 6 (1) 0
Juan Castillo ADO Den Haag 8 (5) 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 774 9 (5) 0
Trevoh Chalobah Lorient 19 (5) 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1851 20 (5) 1
Jake Clarke-Salter Birmingham City 9 (1) 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 881 10 (1) 0
Danny Drinkwater Kasimpasa 4 (3) 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 365 4 (3) 0
Conor Gallagher West Bromwich Albion 22 (2) 2 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 2143 24 (2) 2
Marco van Ginkel PSV 0 (6) 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 84 0 (6) 0
Marc Guehi Swansea City 37 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3410 39 0
Kenedy Granada 17 (8) 3 3 (1) 2 0 0 11 (1) 2 0 0 2428 33 (10) 7
Ruben Loftus-Cheek Fulham 21 (6) 1 1 (1) 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1944 22 (7) 1
Ian Maatsen Charlton Athletic 27 (3) 1 0 (1) 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2471 27 (4) 1
Luke McCormick Bristol Rovers 33 (3) 6 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3048 36 (3) 6
George McEachran MVV Maastricht 1 (2) 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 100 1 (2) 0
Matt Miazga Anderlecht 24 0 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2427 27 0
Victor Moses Spartak Moscow 14 (1) 3 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1244 15 (1) 3
Danilo Pantic Cukaricki 15 (7) 0 0 (1) 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1367 15 (8) 0
Lucas Piazon Rio Ave 6 (2) 2 0 (1) 0 0 0 3 0 0 0 789 9 (3) 2
Baba Rahman PAOK 6 (2) 1 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 757 8 (2) 1
Jonathan Russell Accrington Stanley 9 (13) 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1132 10 (13) 2
Malang Sarr FC Porto 5 (3) 0 4 0 1 1 4 (2) 0 0 0 1401 14 (5) 1
Fikayo Tomori Milan 9 (1) 0 0 (1) 0 0 0 4 0 0 0 1266 13 (2) 0
Iké Ugbo Cercle Brugge 32 16 0 (2) 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 2753 32 (2) 17
Tariq Uwakwe Accrington Stanley 12 (3) 1 0 (1) 0 0 0 0 0 4 (1) 3 1206 16 (5) 4
Jack Wakely Brighton 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Davide Zappacosta Genoa 17 (2) 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1529 17 (2) 2
Total 47356 534 (148) 67



Player Club League FA Cup League Cup Europe Other Mins
Played
Total
Apps Cln Sht Apps Cln Sht Apps Cln Sht Apps Cln Sht Apps Cln Sht Apps Cln Sht
Nathan Baxter Accrington Stanley 16 6 1 0 0 0 0 0 2 1 1657 19 7
Jamal Blackman Rotherham United 21 4 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 2100 26 4
Jamie Cumming Stevenage 37 15 3 0 1 0 0 0 2 1 3910 43 16
Teddy Sharman-Lowe Burton Albion 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 2 0 270 3 0
Ethan Wady Dartford 4 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 450 5 1
Total 8387 96 28