Chelsea loanees: Update on Blues being borrowed across Europe
By Patrick Surlis
Last Updated: 12/11/15 11:38am
With Chelsea struggling, we take a look at their 32 loan players - many of whom are thriving away from Stamford Bridge...
With players in Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, France, Portugal, Belgium and Bosnia and Herzegovina, and closer to home in Watford, Reading and West Ham, Chelsea have an interest in most of the top European leagues.
As the inquest continues into Chelsea's poor start to their Premier League title defence, we take a closer look at how their loanees are getting on…
BRIGHT YOUNG GUNS
Nathan Ake (Midfielder, Watford, 20)
Highly-rated by Jose Mourinho, who gave him a winners' medal last season despite his single Premier League appearance, Ake signed a new five-year deal in August.
He's made seven Premier League appearances on loan at Watford, primarily at left-back, establishing himself as a first-team regular.
All signs point to a bright future at Stamford Bridge for Ake, especially considering the first-team's defensive struggles this season, and much of the credit should go to Hornets boss Quique Sanchez Flores, who has a reputation for bringing on younger players.
"Flores allows me to make mistakes but also sees that I am improving and getting better every game," Ake said.
"He is always giving advice. We watch clips of what I can do better and that gives me confidence which is really important at my age."
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Andreas Christensen (Defender, Borussia Monchengladbach, 19)
Arguably the club's best youth team player over the last couple of seasons, Christensen has impressed in his first spell away from confines of Cobham.
Going from U21 football to the Bundesliga was always going to be a big jump, but the Denmark international has been a hit at Borussia Monchengladbach so far.
He's an ever present in the league, and has played 90 minutes in Gladbach's last three Champions League ties, including a fantastic performance in a clean-sheet away to Juventus. In fact, Juve trio Juan Cuadrado, Mario Mandzukic and Alvaro Morata had so little joy on the night that all three were substituted in the second half.
Tomas Kalas (Defender, Middlesbrough, 22)
Middlesbrough have benefitted nicely from Mourinho's friendship with boss Aitor Karanka - last season Patrick Bamford starred in attack and this year Kalas is marshalling a stingy defence.
The Czech Republic international made his league debut for the Blues with a composed performance in a 2-0 Chelsea win at Anfield, and he's developing well at one of the Championship's top clubs.
Mario Pasalic (Midfielder, Monaco, 20)
Often compared to fellow Croat Luka Modric, Pasalic idolises Frank Lampard. Upon joining Monaco, he was tasked with replacing Geoffrey Kondogbia after moving as part of the deal that brought Radamel Falcao to Chelsea. At this stage, the Ligue 1 side got the better deal.
Things didn't start brilliantly for Pasalic, though, as he was hauled off 25 minutes into his league debut, but he's since earned Leonardo Jardim's trust and started the club's last four games. His match-winning strike against Angers on November 1 was his fourth in all competitions, more than any other Monaco player, and he's one of three Croats nominated for the Golden Boy award.
"I don't know what will happen," Pasalic said earlier this month. "It's too soon to say but I feel good here." Chelsea will surely want him back, though.
Mourinho fired a shot across the bows when he dropped Fabregas and Matic this season, and Pasalic could put them under pressure next year if he continues on his current trajectory.
Todd Kane (Defender, NEC Nijmegen, 22)
Kane has impressed at NEC Nijmegen, but at 22-years-old and without a Premier League appearance to his name, his time to make an impact at his parent club may be coming to a close. He's doing everything right to catch Chelsea's eye, though.
Kane has made 10 Eredivisie starts, featuring in every league game, and has reportedly attracted interest from some of the bigger clubs in the Netherlands.
Juan Cuadrado (Winger, Juventus, 27)
With so many Chelsea players below-par this season, Cuadrado is potentially the loanee with the most to offer his parent club.
Like the Blues, Juve's league title defence has stuttered, but Cuadrado has impressed. According to WhoScored.com, the Colombia winger has been the club's best player, and although he has only one Serie A goal to his name, it was a late winner against Torino, which led manager Massimiliano Allegri to tweet "Phew for Cuadrado".
"That was the most important goal of my career," said Cuadrado. "It's a wonderful feeling. I don't think I've ever scored such an important one at the very last breath of such a big game."
He's doing fine without Chelsea, but it seems like they could certainly do with him.
Victor Moses (Forward, West Ham, 24)
After an injury-hit beginning to life at West Ham, Moses bounced back to start the club's most recent seven league games (excluding the match against his parent club).
He's been largely impressive too, providing two assists and a goal, and would certainly have been an interesting option for Mourinho had he stayed at Stamford Bridge.
The Chelsea boss spoke positively on Moses at the start of the season, and the former-Wigan man clearly belongs at Premier League level.
Marco van Ginkel (Midfielder, Stoke, 22)
Having struggled to make an impact at AC Milan last season, Van Ginkel's move down the food chain to Stoke was supposed to provide playing time.
But after a bright start, the Netherlands international has fallen down the pecking order at the Britannia Stadium. Stoke boss Mark Hughes recently denied speculation he's under financial pressure to play Van Ginkel due to terms of the loan agreement, and judging by his sporadic substitute appearances, that certainly looks the case.
Since September 26, the midfielder has played just 42 minutes of Premier League football, and still looks some way off fulfilling the 'next Frank Lampard' comparison given to him by Vitesse boss Peter Bosz.
Marko Marin (Winger, Trabzonspor, 26)
Remember him? Yes, after three seasons on loan, taking in Spain, Belgium and Italy, Marin is still a Chelsea player, but perhaps not for much longer. Recent reports claim Marin has found a home in Turkey and wants to make his Trabzonspor loan permanent.
The Turkish club do have an option to buy, and it looks extremely unlikely that Marin, once of the brightest talents in German football, will return to Chelsea.
He's currently out injured with a thigh strain.
Kenneth Omeruo (Defender, Kasimpasa, 22)
Injuries have been the problem for Omeruo in Turkey - a familiar story after groin troubles at Middlesbrough last season. When fit, the 28-cap Nigeria international has been an important contributor, making seven Super Lig appearances for Kasimpasa.
If he can stay healthy, this could be his final season on Chelsea's books as the Turkish club are thought to have an option to buy at the end of the loan.
After helping Nigeria to win the Africa Cup of Nations aged 19, he was supposed to be the long-term successor to John Terry. He still might be, but Kurt Zouma's got the jump on him, and at this point Kalas and Christensen look like better candidates too.
Lucas Piazon (Midfielder, Reading, 21)
Nine league appearances - three as a sub - two goals and two assists for play-off chasing Reading in the Championship, but this is Piazon's fourth loan in just two years.
Chelsea beat "other world-leading clubs" to sign the Brazil youth international, but so far he's struggled to establish himself at Malaga, Eintracht Frankfurt, Vitesse and Reading, so doing so at Chelsea looks a big ask.
Ulises Davila (Midfielder, Vitoria, 24)
It's not looking good for Davila this season. The attacker extended his loan at Vitoria for the 2015/16 season, but has played just 11 minutes of league football since September 13.
There's still time, and he's not been helped by a lack of international recognition - without senior caps for Mexico he's been ineligible for a work permit
Patrick Bamford (Forward, Crystal Palace, 22)
Hailed as "one of England's brightest prospects" by Alan Pardew in July, just two months later the Palace boss admitted Bamford could return to Chelsea early.
It's just not worked out for the reigning Championship Player of the Year at Selhurst Park. After scoring 19 goals on loan at Middlesbrough last season, Bamford is yet to hit the net for the Eagles in six appearances.
Pardew praised the forward's attitude after his arrival, but also said "he's got some learning to do" before he'd be ready for the first-team. That suggests a return to Chelsea, and probably a second loan, is on the cards.
Wallace (Defender, Carpi, 21)
Wallace is a bench option for bottom of the table Carpi, having made just one Serie A start so far. His path to the first-team looks bleak, even considering Branislav Ivanovic's dip in form, as Mourinho could still shift Cesar Azpilicueta to his favoured right-back spot.
Stipe Perica (Forward, Udinese, 20)
It's been tough sledding for Perica in Italy - the Croatia forward has made just one start in the league for a struggling Udinese side.
A natural goal-scorer, a teenage Perica managed 10 in 23 games for previous club Zadar before joining Chelsea, and he scored nine league goals in the Netherlands last season. But he's found it difficult to dislodge Cyril Thereau, Duvan Zapata and Antonio Di Natale so far and any impact at Chelsea looks some way off.
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Jeremie Boga (Midfielder, Stade Rennais, 18)
The teenager reportedly joined Rennes after Marseille refused to offer guarantees over playing time, but he's seen little action in Brittany either.
Mourinho mentioned Boga in the same sentence as Cesc Fabregas and Nemanja Matic just under a year ago when the Chelsea boss was outlining the "future of the club", but the playmaker has only made a handful of substitute appearances in Ligue 1 since his August loan move.
Nathaniel Chalobah (Midfielder, Napoli, 20)
"He could be in our squad already but we think one more season will help and then he will come back for 2014-15. It will be his last one out on loan. He is very, very good." - Mourinho on Chalobah, July 2013
Since then, things have gone backwards for the talented midfielder. His move to Napoli was one that looked exciting on paper, but has disappointed (so far) in practice.
Earmarked for success at Stamford Bridge from age 15, Chalobah's first of six loan spells, to Watford, was his most successful. That ended more than two seasons ago.
He didn't get off to the best start in Italy as Napoli head coach Maurizio Sarri did not know who he was, so it's not surprising that the sum total of his contribution so far is five minutes in the Europa League against Legia Warsaw in early October.
He's learning the language and trying to fit in, but it looks like Chalobah could be recalled sooner rather than later.
Matej Delac (Goalkeeper, Sarajevo, 23)
Delac had been enjoying his best run since his Inter Zapresic days while on loan at Sarajevo, but the 23-year-old tore his ACL on international duty and has since gone under the knife.
The departure of Petr Cech looked positive for Delac's prospects at Stamford Bridge, but Mourinho then signed Asmir Begovic. Delac still extended his Chelsea deal by a year in the summer (it now runs until 2017) although the arrival of Marco Amelia since then further dents his first-team chances.
Christian Atsu (Winger, Bournemouth, 23)
The Ghana international's time on the south coast has been extremely frustrating for both player and club. A knock picked up on international duty turned into a stress fracture of the shin, and Atsu is back at Chelsea for treatment having played just twice in the Capital One Cup.
Eddie Howe likes the "very talented player", but there's no timeline on his return and Atsu clearly gets the importance of this loan spell for his future in west London.
"It's my dream to play for Chelsea. But right now I have to focus on Bournemouth," he said.
"If I don't play here, there is no way I will get a chance at Chelsea."
BORROWED BY BRITISH CLUBS
John Swift (Midfielder, Brentford, 20)
The former Pompey youngster has settled quickly at Brentford since his move on October 1, making eight Championship appearances and chipping in with a goal.
And the Bees have been so happy with him they extended his initial month-long loan into a three-month agreement running through to January 2016.
Islam Feruz (Forward, Hibernian, 20)
The young striker has been in the spotlight for the wrong reasons several times since joining Chelsea from Celtic, and since joining Hibs in the summer, with his off-field behaviour drawing more headlines.
He's asked to be judged for his performances on the pitch, but he's struggled to make much of an impression north of the border, with just four substitute appearances to his name so far.
Alex Davey (Defender, Peterborough, 20)
Davey signed a new contract at Chelsea earlier this month, eight weeks after his initial 30-day loan at Peterborough was extended by former manager Dave Robertson. Robertson got the sack later that week, a move which proved to be poor timing for Davey.
The defender initially made a "strong impression" on new Posh boss Graham Westley, but he's not started a match since September 5, Robertson's last match in charge.
Michael Hector (Defender, Reading, 23)
Hector's arrival at Chelsea was one of the more surprising deadline day deals, and the Blues sent him back to Reading as part of the agreement.
Already a key part of the set-up under Steve Clarke, Hector picked up where he left off upon his return and won praise from Clarke in September, who feared Chelsea would recall the defender early. The centre-back's form has dipped dramatically in recent weeks, though, leading to Anton Ferdinand's reinstatement at Hector's expense against Huddersfield.
"Will never doubt myself or my teammates," Hector responded on Instagram. "Yeah, it's been a tough month but it's the same team and players that went on a great run the month before. A long way to go in the season and a lot of points to play for still."
He was back in the team for the 2-0 defeat to Cardiff on Saturday, and the Royals will want to get him back on form.
Jordan Houghton (Midfielder, Gillingham, 20)
The signs were good for Houghton upon arriving at Gillingham - boss Justin Edinburgh was delighted to secure the Chelsea U21 captain ahead of other clubs, and the midfielder has played plenty of League One football since.
He was an unused substitute against Walsall in the Gills' last game, but Houghton has already made 12 appearances this season.
Despite his pedigree at Stamford Bridge, you only have to see how difficult it's been for Chalobah, Josh McEachran and Ruben Loftus-Cheek to crack the Chelsea rotation to understand the challenge Houghton faces, but he's making a case.
Jhoao Rodriguez (Forward, Sint-Truidense, 19)
Bekanty Victorien Angban (Winger, Sint-Truidense, 19)
Cristian Cuevas (Midfielder, Sint-Truidense, 20)
The three Chelsea loanees have enjoyed mixed success at the mid-table Belgian club, with Victorien Angban the pick of the bunch.
The midfielder received a red card against title challengers Anderlecht in September, but manager Yannick Ferrera has leaned heavily on the winger this season.
Team-mate Cristian Cuevas regularly starts too, but has completed 90 minutes just once in his last nine appearances and is perhaps not ready for an extended run in the Premier League just yet.
Jhoao Rodriguez is very much a back-up, with eight of his nine appearances in the Jupiler League from the substitutes' bench.
Lewis Baker (Midfielder, Vitesse, 20)
Isaiah Brown (Forward, Vitesse, 18)
Dominic Solanke (Forward, Vitesse, 18)
Nathan (Midfielder, Vitesse, 19)
Danilo Pantic (Midfielder, Vitesse, 19)
Of the five at Vitesse, Baker has been the stand-out, establishing himself in central midfield with 12 league starts from 12 games, three goals and two assists. Before Sunday's action, Baker had created the third most chances in the Eredivisie (28), according to Opta.
Solanke has four league goals in seven starts, earning a call-up to Gareth Southgate's U21 squad and comparisons to Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Still just 18, he's showed why Mourinho brought him into the first-team set-up towards the end of last season. Judging the contributions of Diego Costa, Loic Remy and Radamel Falcao this season, there's a case that we could see Solanke back in the squad ahead of schedule.
Nathan, signed this summer from Atletico Paranaense, is acclimating to European football and is yet to stake his claim to a regular place at Vitesse.
The same goes for Brown and Pantic. The pair have managed just 360 minutes of Eredivisie football between them, with the reserve team their best bet for regular game time at the moment.
Brown scored twice last week as Vitesse reserves beat AZ 2-0 and Pantic and Nathan also featured, while Nathan and Brown then came off the bench in the first-team's 2-0 loss to AZ on Sunday.
Baker and Solanke have made the early impact, but it would not be a surprise to see Nathan join them as a key contributor by season's end.
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