It almost goes without saying that after a season in which more than thirty Chelsea players embarked on loan moves that we’re far from being done on that front this summer, but as we reach the one-week mark until the Football League (and Eredivisie) gets underway and we find ourselves two weeks out from the return of the Premier League, business is most definitely about to pick up.
The Blues have already reached double figures with John Swift’s move to Rotherham United on Friday added to deals arranged for Ryan Bertrand, Thorgan Hazard, Gael Kakuta, Tomas Kalas, Mario Pašalić, Lucas Piazon, Wallace, Bertrand Traore and Cristian Cuevas, and whilst Kenneth Omeruo’s return to Middlesbrough hasn’t been officially announced he has been training with them since last Wednesday and it’s a matter of dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s. Oriol Romeu became the eleventh on Monday morning with a switch to VfB Stuttgart.
Jose Mourinho’s first team group have returned to England in clusters in the past week or so; Mark Schwarzer was first back and was quickly joined by Swift along with fellow English youngsters Patrick Bamford and Isaiah Brown, although Brown’s was solely down to a minor injury setback. Everyone else returns to base tomorrow and with that in mind, here’s a look at the lay of the land for nine Blues almost certain to find themselves in different colours come September.
Christian Atsu – A strong showing at the World Cup saw significant interest develop in the Ghanaian international and the fact that he is very likely to qualify for a work permit automatically makes him even more appealing to Premier League clubs. Sunderland were reported to have edged ahead in the race to secure his services but those stories were deftly brushed aside by manager Gustavo Poyet and instead Everton are now in the ascendancy. A deal could be announced early this week.
Patrick Bamford – A tidy afternoon’s work for the Under-21s at Crawley on Saturday may be the last time we see Bamford in Chelsea colours for a while with Middlesbrough set to take further advantage of the relationship between manager Aitor Karanka and his former Real Madrid boss Mourinho by bringing in a striker who impressed so often at Derby County in the second half of last season. He often lined up out wide at the iPro Stadium; the hope is that he’ll be afforded plenty of time as a centre-forward at the Riverside Stadium.
Nathaniel Chalobah – Whilst it’s a little disappointing to see one of the club’s best home-grown products on the outside looking in again, Chalobah will have to make the best of his situation and prove without a shadow of a doubt that he can play for Chelsea. A Premier League loan is a must after two years and three clubs in the Championship and perhaps a newly-promoted team or two could be persuaded to add him to their squad.
Uli Dávila – The young Mexican winger will never have to buy a drink in Córdoba again after his late, late goal with the final kick of the Segunda season secured promotion back to the top flight for the first time in more than 40 years. Unfortunately it looks like a second season under former Chelsea defender Albert Ferrer is unlikely with Córdoba having already acquired more than their allocation of non-EU players and so it falls upon him to broaden his horizons and ply his trade elsewhere. La Liga is still the most appealing move for him at this stage of his career.
Todd Kane – Pre-season hasn’t been kind to Todd as he limped out of matches against Wycombe and Crawley with injury problems. Thankfully it looks like there will be no lasting damage and he can set his sights on another year in the Championship after falling out of favour at Blackburn last season.
Josh McEachran – A summer of uncertainty and “Where’s Josh?!” questions were sated somewhat with the midfielder’s appearance at Crawley on Saturday but he too is not long for Chelsea blue with another temporary departure looming large. Whispers of an interesting shift overseas refuse to go away with several newspapers claiming he has started to learn Spanish amidst interest from Real Zaragoza whilst more recently the Mirror have linked him with our friends in Arnhem.
Stipe Perica – An extended summer in England was probably always in the plans for the big Croatian forward after he went straight from NK Zadar to NAC Breda last summer and the club certainly seems to think he’s got a bit about him. NAC have made it known all summer long that they want him back and have patiently awaited Chelsea’s decision; with a week left until the big Dutch kick-off they should soon have an answer.
George Saville – You can add Saville’s name to the Middlesbrough list with a number of North East sources suggesting he’s Riverside bound with Omeruo and Bamford. Having proved himself in League One with Brentford’s successful promotion campaign it’s the natural next step in his career to step up the leagues.
Matej Delač – Straight from the horse’s mouth, Delač admitted that as he still lacks the requisite work permit to stay at Chelsea, he’ll be going back out on loan again, with his destination to be decided this week. At least he finally saw some playing time for his parent club in Ljubljana but in a career that has already seen stays in Zaprešić, Arnhem, Guimarães, České Budějovice, Novi Sad and Sarajevo, it’s next to impossible to guess where 2014-15 will take him.
Others who could be packing their bags and finding a friendly hotel in the days and weeks ahead include (but are not limited to) Jamal Blackman, Lewis Baker, Islam Feruz and Joao Rodriguez (likely heading to Vitesse), although Nathan Aké will remain at Stamford Bridge having taken Romeu’s number six shirt for the forthcoming season and Baker has been mentioned in dispatches as being likely to stay too.