Shuffling The Loan Pack

The January transfer window is almost upon us and with it we’ll likely see some significant changes on Chelsea’s loan front.

Whilst a clutch of young prospects have picked up from last season’s stellar crop in making sterling progress whilst away and continuing their education, many others either haven’t been able to grasp the opportunity or simply haven’t been afforded that opportunity. The opening of the transfer window means a fresh start is possible for all and there will definitely be a change of scenery for some.

One of those almost certain to be plying his trade elsewhere is Nathaniel Chalobah. A loan to Burnley promised much but after just 66 minutes across four appearances, he’ll be leaving Turf Moor in the near future. Manager Sean Dyche somewhat unfairly claimed that the 20 year-old midfielder has failed to adapt to life at the club but with playing time impossible to come by, Chalobah would surely counter that he’s not had the chance to show what he can offer to a club battling relegation.

Alternatives in the top-flight might be equally as hard to come by, meaning he may be forced into a fourth spell in England’s second tier or a move abroad for the final five months of the season. Wherever he ends up it’s a crucial stage in the career of one of Chelsea’s brightest young things and they have to make sure that no more time is wasted in his development.

Other loanees playing in England could be on the move too. Christian Atsu is currently injured but hasn’t been able to force his way into the Everton reckoning and despite claims from all parties that he’s staying on Merseyside, a club showing a greater willingness to use him could change that. In the Championship meanwhile, Middlesbrough manager Aitor Karanka has recently hinted that third-choice goalkeeper Jamal Blackman may depart the Riverside Stadium in search of regular football elsewhere whilst an addition to the ever-expanding group of displaced youngsters could emerge in John Swift, who has been interesting Ipswich Town in recent weeks.

Things look much the same on the continent, where Tomas Kalas is yet to play a minute of first-team football this season after a switch to Köln went desperately wrong. Affiliate club Vitesse (where he previously spent two seasons) could emerge as an alternative whilst Queens Park Rangers are said to be keen to give him an English home for the rest of 2014-15.

Two others stationed at Bundesliga clubs could leave on a permanent basis with Stuttgart and Borussia Mönchengladbach having expressed desires to sign Oriol Romeu and Thorgan Hazard outright and whilst both are highly-rated and have long-term Chelsea contracts, nothing can be ruled out.

Fernando Torres has already left to sign for Milan permanently before heading home to Atlético Madrid but fellow Blue Marco van Ginkel should theoretically also fit the criteria of someone on the move after an injury-hit season so far. He and Marko Marin at Fiorentina have watched others secure first-team spots whilst they’ve toiled on the sidelines and, with the picture looking bleak for each to force their way in as things stand, it would make a great deal of sense to explore the market.

Under-21 strikers Joao Rodriguez and Islam Feruz have been consigned to the rejects pile at Bastia and OFI Crete respectively and need to be re-housed for the good of their careers; Feruz has been linked with Birmingham City this past weekend whilst Rodriguez impressed in his brief appearances under the now-departed Bastia manager Claude Makelele to have attracted some attention from elsewhere.

Decisions will have to be made about Alex Davey’s stay at Scunthorpe and Todd Kane’s at Bristol City with both players on short-term deals ending during the next month, whilst a few of Adi Viveash’s Under-21 group may embark upon their first forays into professional football. Look for Lewis Baker and Alex Kiwomya to lead that group and for Fankaty Dabo and Jordan Houghton to potentially join them depending on interest arising.

As always, you can keep fully up to date with the #CFC #loanwatch goings on here at and on Twitter @chelseayouth.