There seems to be something very puzzling going on at Chelsea. Manager Rafael Benitez has been complaining in the media about the lack of resources he has available to him, in a squad that has at times looked very thin this season. The statement is made even more puzzling by the fact that Chelsea do have the players on their books to fill these spaces, only they’re on loan and not at the club. It’s not just 1 or 2 players who are on loan, but 23 players. 6 of these players have caps for their respective countries, and you’d have to feel that these players could have been recalled at some point to help the squad. Add into that the talented youngsters of Josh McEachran, Lucas Piazon & Nathaniel Chalobah who could certainly do a job for the side.
A lot of the players on loan are very young players who would struggle to get into the first team, and so it’s best that they stay out on loan. But players such as Michael Essien, Kevin De Bruyne, Romelu Lukaku & Lucas Piazon (who went out on loan in January), could really have been used this season for Chelsea. Not to mention Belgian goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, who has impressed in every game he’s played for Atletico Madrid this season. With Chelsea only having 2 strikers now until the rest of the season, what’s to happen if one of those players gets injured? Chelsea have a more than capable player in Lukaku out on loan at West Brom, who’s impressed pundits in his stay there this season, but yet wasn’t recalled in January.
These players may well be getting valuable experience & game time out at their respective clubs, but there is a danger to this. If Chelsea fail to make it into the Champions League next season, this would have a catastrophic affect in terms of finances lost for the club. With these players on loan, you’d imagine that to recall them it would require a fee to be paid in terms of compensation. Now, if Chelsea weren’t prepared to pay that fee for these players, how costly that could be if Chelsea miss out on the cash cow that is the Champions League.
It’s not out of the question either that Chelsea won’t make it into the top 4. Under a manager who proves himself to be more incompetent with each passing game, and a squad that is stretched with the number of games played, it could well happen. Couple that with the fact that Tottenham & Arsenal seem to be getting into some sort of groove at this point, whilst Chelsea continue to stutter. Yes, they won yesterday against Wigan, but it wasn’t a convincing win at all.
If the worst was to happen and Chelsea weren’t to qualify for the Champions League next season, the finger will be pointed not only at the manager, but the board who’ve decided to keep all of these players out on loan. As Benitez said yesterday in his interview, he has little to no influence over what happens in terms of ins and outs at the club, that’s done by Gourlay & Buck as well as Emenalo. So even if Chelsea fans would like to blame Benitez for not recalling players, that one sadly doesn’t fall at his feet. It’s even rumored that Benitez asked for McEachran to be recalled to bulk up the midfield, but this was declined. Very strange.
With all these talented players out on loan, one thing that’s for certain is that the future does look bright for Chelsea. With some of the most exciting Belgian players on Chelsea’s books, including Eden Hazard, there’s no doubt that there’s some talent coming through the side. However, you would have reservations over whether some of these talented young players will ever fully be given a chance at Chelsea. For example Josh McEachran, making his debut at 17, he barely got a game once Ancelotti was sacked. Piazon has only 1 Premier League appearance, in which he assisted 2 goals, but will he ever make his mark in a midfield which already has so much talent in it?
With so many young and exciting players in the squad and out on loan, the potential is there for this Chelsea side to become a dominant force. It’s just a case of whether all of these players will be given the chance to show what they can do, or whether Chelsea will continue to adopt the policy of just buying the hottest young prospects, rather than bringing talent through the academy. Yes, the 3 Belgian’s were all bought for big money before being loaned out, but young English talents like McEachran & Chalobah have come from the academy, and you have to wonder whether they’ll get the same opportunities as Bertrand has, or whether their future is destined for elsewhere.
There’s a lot of confusion over the way the club’s run right now, with a lot of questions being asked without many answers. The question of why Chelsea have allowed all of these players to leave on loan is one that confuses everyone, but I doubt will ever fully be answered. The club is a complete shambles at the moment, from top to bottom, and there needs to be a complete culture change at the club if the board doesn’t want to be completely alienated by the fans, if they aren’t already.
It’s not a happy time for Chelsea fans, which is a sad when this should have been such a promising season after last year’s memorable cup wins. The only positive Chelsea fans can take right now is that 2 of Chelsea’s best performers this season, John Obi Mikel & Victor Moses, will be back for the weekend. That will go some way to strengthening the squad, and Chelsea fans can now hope that the team can get a positive run of results going on the pitch, even if things aren’t so positive off of it.