WHAT NEXT FOR A TALENTED BUNCH OF LOANERS?

John Terry breaking into the first team..

Over the last decade we’ve been privileged to watch many of the finest players in world football gracing the Stamford Bridge pitch. Many of them in glorious royal blue. Investment in an extremely successful star-studded squad has inevitably had an impact on our brightest academy prospects’ progress.

It seems Bertrand is grasping the opportunity to establish himself in the first team squad but Terry was the last academy graduate to become a regular first team player.  I was at the Bridge when Terry made his debut back on October 28, 1998. Yes, over 14 years ago.

How the academy has changed since Terry rose through the ranks. The crumbling facilities at Harlington are a distant memory and the club has procured some of the most precocious young players to be cultivated at Cobham, our world-class training complex.

With managerial instability and huge pressure to succeed, our most promising youngsters are often farmed out on loan to gain first team experience. There are 26 Chelsea players currently out on loan and 32 players have been loaned out this season. Successes include Lukaku’s heroics at West Brom, De Bruyne impressing for Werder Bremen and Chalobah’s spell at Watford, a club well versed in maximising their return from the loan system.

Swansea City v Chelsea - Premier League

It doesn’t always work out well, though. Kakuta, the mercurially talented young Frenchman, had unsuccessful spells at Bolton, then Fulham before finding form (and some time on the pitch) at Dijon. He’s now playing regularly and continuing to develop on loan at Vitesse. Still only 21, at a crucial time the loan process seemed to hinder his development.

Should some of our talented loanees have been given opportunities that have been afforded some of our less able imports? It’ll be interesting to see if and how the successful loanees are integrated into the squad next season. There’s so much talent in the academy that it’s only a matter of time until it starts bubbling through into the first team.

Written by Nick Thompson. Follow @OhDennisWise or visit OhDennisWise.com – a Chelsea blog.

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