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Chelsea, Lukaku and the loanee pandemic

Chelsea currently have 23 players out on loan to other clubs, this figure may seem very high compared to Manchester United’s 10 loanees and Arsenal’s 12. Especially when Chelsea Interim Manager Rafa Benitez has previously claimed that his current team is too small and that is why points have been dropped. However, of the contingent that are out on loan 12 have risen through the Chelsea ranks and have been given a professional contract. So these players do need to go out on loan and get experience but why is this not as frequent at other clubs? Although clubs do loan out their youngsters, 12 seems a high amount but that comes down to Chelsea’s spending. They are happy to spend money where other teams may be more careful and may cut costs and keep their more prize assets yet that is the Chelsea way. They do need to let youngsters go out on loan, if they pick up a young star for the future then letting them get that valuable first team is the most sensible option.

However, with Chelsea’s transfer policy of high spending then will there ever be a chance for these young stars to break through? Chelsea hope these players will become world class, yet they do not put in as much as other clubs that have seen them reap the award of young stars. Chelsea now though will buy themselves out of trouble or buy huge names in an attempt to win trophies and leagues. This limits the effect young academy players can have on the Chelsea landscape yet within the squad they could be fringe players. Would a youngster be content with a harmful of substitution appearances if he could be in the Championship playing regularly? That’s very unlikely, so what option have Chelsea got? They are playing the game they have to play but the issue people might have is the better players that Chelsea are allowing to go.

Players such as Michael Essien and Romelu Lukaku but also payers such as Kevin de Bruyne and Lucas Piazon. The latter two players are not of Chelsea calibre right now but with Chelsea expected to perform in numerous tournaments this season then having a slighter bigger squad without having to buy would have helped no doubt. Then there are Essien and Lukaku, two players at different ends of their careers. When Essien left for Madrid on loan, the defensive midfield role was headed up by Jon Obi Mikel, a player people would argue was no Essien. A player that always played second fiddle to the Ghanaian was suddenly a player worthy of the starting XI. Chelsea fans would want Essien and Mikel to battle out for that position in an ideal world. Essien may not be what he once was but when you are struggling then you want competitions in places.

The other player mentioned was Romelu Lukaku, he is having a fantastic season at West Brom but at the age of 19 it looks like an even more impressive display. Chelsea have loaned him out the same way they did with Daniel Sturridge, giving him that first team experience he needed and the chance to prove himself. It worked for him and it seems to be working wonderfully for Lukaku too. Yet Chelsea had more firepower when Sturridge was out on loan with Nicolas Anelka and Didier Drogba filling the upfront positions. Now though, their striking force seems somewhat inadequate. Chelsea could have done with Lukaku this season with Ba and Torres a poor striking pair for a top Premier League team. I think he could be a big player for Chelsea if they gave him a chance in his tender years. Next year however, things could be very different. If big money players are bought in then everything changes, a new star striker, if he is successful, will mean Lukaku will be loaned out once again. He will be back playing for Chelsea in the future without a doubt, such is his quality but he does needs a few years experience.

Chelsea’s legion of loanees are out of necessity for the club because of the structure and policies but when a manager says his squad is too small then you don’t want to see 23 players loaned out to other clubs. This is all just another underlying issue at Chelsea which reinforces the belief that all they need is the stability which would iron out these kind of issues.

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