Away from the manic madness of transfer deadline day at first-team level, the academy was just as busy throughout Wednesday in sending an unprecedented nine players out on temporary moves; the inflated tally almost something of an inevitability due to the scrapping of England’s emergency loan window for Football League clubs.
Here’s how a breathless day unfolded for the Blues’ loan army.
Following the road well-travelled
For some of those on the move, today was a return to familiar climbs as they packed up their bags and prepared for another year of temporary living far away from Stamford Bridge. Cristian Cuevas, at least, will be able to look forward to returning to Belgian outfit Sint-Truiden, where he spent a generally successful 2015-16 campaign. He split his time there between left-back and a more attacking role on the same flank and, with none of his other options coming across too well, he’s taken the safe road back to the Jupiler League in an effort to further improve his stock ahead of this time next year.
OFFICIEEL : Cuevas is back! Hij wordt ook dit seizoen gehuurd van Chelsea. https://t.co/RjrkTshF1p
— STVV (@stvv) August 31, 2016
Islam Feruz will also be heading to Belgium to join Royal Excel Mouscron, where Matej Delač is currently serving as backup goalkeeper. Feruz has had disappointing spells at Blackpool, OFI Crete and Hibernian so far in his tumultuous career and, turning 21 next month, he must be aware that it’s likely now or never if he is to rescue some semblance of the potential he displayed as a teenager. A few goals in his time on the other side of the channel would be a good start.
OFFICIEL: @Trezeguet et Islam #Feruz ont signé à @ExcelMouscron #REM Infos sur https://t.co/QAzb01fR7C pic.twitter.com/PaS31zdxqh
— Royal Excel Mouscron (@ExcelMouscron) August 31, 2016
Kenneth Omeruo’s second year in Turkey takes him to newly-promoted Alanyaspor, from the Turquoise coast. The Nigerian international defender penned a one-year extension to his contract before jetting off and, with experience in the league from a solid season at Kasimpasa, he’ll do his best to continue trending upwards, even if it remains in relatively obscure climes.
Lucas Piazon has spent time at home and abroad since arriving in London in 2012 but has opted to stay closer to home for the first half of this season at least as he’ll be lining up in the white and black of Fulham. His experience at Reading last year should help him hit the ground running when he turns up at Craven Cottage and, having rejected advances from some notable alternatives, he should be in the mood to make a difference.
BREAKING: Lucas Piazon joins #ffc on loan from Chelsea until January > https://t.co/r4lBAr1Occ#DeadlineDay pic.twitter.com/6O2P4KvZ94
— Fulham Football Club (@FulhamFC) August 31, 2016
Gone for good?
Juan Cuadrado and Christian Atsu are no strangers to the loan game but their respective moves this week will likely be their last as Chelsea players. Cuadrado has agreed a three-year departure to Juventus for a €5m fee which will become a €25m permanent transfer if the Colombian winger fulfills certain conditions for the Old Lady. As he almost certainly will, it’s a matter of when and not if we say goodbye to a player who never really got his chance in blue.
Atsu, on the other hand, was more of a speculative punt when he arrived from Porto in 2013, one of Chelsea’s ‘business ventures’. A stellar year at Vitesse was followed by injury-afflicted stays at Everton and Bournemouth, and even his most recent sojourn to Málaga was blighted by absences. He now moves to Newcastle, who will have the option to buy him outright at the end of the campaign. Whether they choose to exercise that right or not, he’ll not likely be back for another go-round.
ATSU: @ChristianAtsu20 "very happy" to secure Magpies move ⚫️⚪️ pic.twitter.com/syA0GPiCCj
— Newcastle United FC (@NUFC) August 31, 2016
Feels like the first time
Charlie Colkett, Jake Clarke-Salter, Dion Conroy and Nathan Baxter are yet to experience the loanee life but they’ll soon be acquainted with it after securing deadline-day deals. Colkett and Clarke-Salter will head off to League One’s Bristol Rovers for the year with manager Darrell Clarke likely earning the respect of Blues brass with the Gas’ performance in last week’s League Cup clash. They play a stylish brand of football and will look towards their two new recruits to drive that to even greater highs. The city itself is also proving rather favourable to the club right now with Tammy Abraham currently thriving for Bristol City in red.
SIGNINGS: Rovers sign @ChelseaFC duo on loan until the end of the season #DeadlineDay pic.twitter.com/QMZ4VlqOKd
— Bristol Rovers (@Official_BRFC) August 31, 2016
Conroy, who also turns 21 this autumn, has had a couple of years struggling through injuries but, now fit, he’s linked up with Aldershot Town until January. The National League side host Chelsea’s Development Squad at the EBB Stadium so he’ll be in very comfortable surroundings, and will compete for a starting spot at the heart of their defence alongside or against former academy youngster Jack Saville.
Baxter, on the other hand, is still just a tender 17 but a goalkeeping logjam has seen him brave the adult world and move to Metropolitan Police FC for half a season. With Brad Collins, Jared Thompson, Jamie Cumming and Marcin Bulka all needing to play, one in five was likely to make way and so Baxter, who a year ago was only just making his first Under-18 start, will get an early opportunity to experience the rough and tumble of football in England’s semi-pro seventh tier.
#DeadlineDay signing for us – Chelsea's FA Youth Cup winning keeper Nathan Baxter joins on loan until January #CFC pic.twitter.com/Mki0uVoqQD
— Met Police FC (@MetPoliceFC) August 31, 2016
Matt Miazga‘s short-term future was closely tied to the David Luiz transfer and, with that running right up to the deadline, he’s heading to Vitesse Arnhem to join Lewis Baker and Nathan. The Dutch club provide a stable fall-back option for the American centre-back and he should get every chance to work his way in alongside captain and standout performer Guram Kashia.
Part of the intrigue of deadline day is the moves that almost came off but, for one reason or another, didn’t. Both Nathaniel Chalobah and Ola Aina were subject of attention from teams at home and abroad without anything materialising whilst Dominic Solanke, still negotiating terms for a longer deal at the club, will stay around for the time being and play for Adi Viveash’s Development Squad whilst serving as third or fourth-choice centre-forward for Antonio Conte. One or two other dev squad youngsters like Fankaty Dabo and Fikayo Tomori will have earned plenty of looks over the past few months but they too will have to wait their turn until the turn of the year.
Don’t forget you can keep up with everything on the loan front all season by clicking on our ‘Loanwatch’ section in the banner at the top of the screen.