Chelsea have one of the largest overall squads in European football, but with competition for spaces in Thomas Tuchel’s side highly sought after, plenty of the Blues’ talent have been loaned out this year.
The infrastructure around Chelsea’s loan system is pretty unique, with a loan department having been set up at the Surrey training base. Since 2019, former goalkeeper Carlo Cudicini has headed up this department working with analysts and scouts to keep track of players, giving feedback to them on their performances at their loan clubs.
1. Conor Gallagher
With a multitude of options competing for midfield roles, Gallgher has really benefited from his loan spell at Palace under the watchful eye of first-time manager Patrick Viera. The 21-year old has scored seven goals and recorded five assists this term, with reports suggesting Tuchel is keen to reintegrate him into the Blues first-team next season. His scintillating form will no doubt increase his suitors if he can’t find a spot with the Chelsea squad.
“We wanted to have him here, like I said many times. In the pre-season, I saw he could have a chance to have an impact on our squad,” Tuchel said ahead of Chelsea’s match against Palace. ”He was not just offered that [important] role [at Palace], he took it and he took it with quality, with the energy he has, and now he took several steps in his development which is quite impressive.”
Gallagher was also promoted to England’s senior team during the most recent international break, making his debut for the national team against San Marino.
2. Armando Broja
Broja’s career seems to be going in one direction. Loaned out by Chelsea to Southampton he has scored six goals in 21 appearances, earning a starting spot alongside Che Adams with whom he is joint-top goalscorer for Southampton. The Albanian has impressed during his time away from the club so far having become a key part of Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side. Obviously Chelsea are in the driving seat for Broja’s career as he recently signed a five-year deal last summer. Sending him to another club on loan next season is always an option for Tuchel, but with his dominant performances as a 20-year old in the Premier League he could be the possible long-term solution to Chelsea’s striking problems. You can back Broja to continue his torrid form on-loan at St. Mary’s with the best odds in spread betting.
3. Billy Gilmour
The 2019-20 Academy Player of the Year had a difficult start to his loan spell at Norwich, failing to impress manager Daniel Farke despite Norwich’s horror start to the season, going the first ten matches without a win. As someone who impressed whenever he put on a Chelsea shirt it was a challenging situation for Gilmour. With a new manager in charge, he has been given a renewed lease of life marking his return to the side with an assist in the Canaries’ victory over Southampton in Dean Smith’s first game. An injury in January that ruled him out for three to four weeks stalled his progress again, however he has returned to the side in recent weeks as he looks to build some consistency and form for Norwich’s survival chances. How much he impresses Tuchel as he finishes this season with the Canaries will go some way to establishing his role going forward with Chelsea.
4. Emerson Palmieri
The 27-year old has proven a key figure this season, starting most of the club’s Ligue 1 games, scoring once and registering an assist during his appearances so far. Since coming from Roma in 2018, Palmieri has rarely started for Chelsea with both Ben Chilwell and Marcos Alonso ahead of him in the pecking order. With Chilwell suffering an injury ruling him out for the season Tuchel was keen on bringing the Italian international back from his loan spell in France.
“I did not return to Chelsea because I promised Juninho that I would stay for a season,” he said. I am a man of my word. I like being in Lyon, I want to be here. For next season, hard to say because [it] depends on the clubs but I’m happy here.”
Lyon rejected £4 million from Chelsea to return the player in January and have a 15 million euro buy-option this summer.
5. Ethan Ampadu
Ampadu made his Venezia debut on 29 September, as a first half substitute. The Welshman grabbed his third assist of the season in Venezia’s loss to Inter in the final game of January. The Exeter academy product has featured generally as a defensive midfielder, and at the heart of the defense, the versatile 21-year old also has played right-back twice in the past month. Ampadu operated in the centre of a back three for Sheffield United in the previous season.
Ampadu’s development will have been aided by 31 caps for Wales including taking part at Euro 2020, despite earning the dubious honour of becoming the youngest player to receive a red card at the European Championships. If Ampadu is going to feature more under Tuchel’s side next season he will need to reduce the amount of cards he receives (he has acquired nine yellow cards this term) but his versatility is a plus. Chelsea’s numbers in defense reaming uncertain next year with Andreas Christensen, Antonio Rudiger and Cesar Azpilicueta all in the final months of their contract.