Mourinho’s return, whose past doesn’t suggest much fondness for youth, further highlights the prospects of the 27 loaned out players in the club, very few of whom are above 25. Yet, Mourinho’s resolute demonstration of trust in Raphael Varane and Diego Lopez ahead of fan favourites, Casillas and Pepe at Real Madrid, indicates his willingness to use any player if only proven good enough. Emphasizing that stand, Mourinho in recent comments, stated his readiness to include the young players in his set-up back at the Bridge.
Its clear we have an abundance of promising young players currently out on loan. Obviously, It’d be unreasonable to bring all those back into the team as there’s still some varying degrees of improvement needed for most of them, and to be honest, only the exceptionally proven players would make their way into the squad at present.
The fact that some have proven themselves ready for first team action means the ball is now in Chelsea’s court and must now decide if they truly deserve a place in the team, or would have to continue the learning curve out on loan. That said, here are 5 players whose outstanding performances have staked a claim for a place in Mourinho’s squad next season. The obvious emission of Courtois down to the fact a loan deal has already been tied up for next season.
Perhaps, Lukaku would be the first player Mourinho would readily draft into his team. What more can be said of the hulking Belgian? At 6’3, he absolutely fits Mourinho’s ideal frontman; strong in air, pacey, full of stamina and just 20 or thereabouts. Not only does he match Mourinho’s type of striker, he has also shown he’s got an end-product to his game, notching up 17 goals and 7 assists for West Brom last season. During that season, Lukaku was acquiring both goals and assists, while we had to endure the show of mediocrity put up by Ba and Torres. Both only managed 10 goals between them in the EPL and Mourinho wouldn’t be filled with confidence going into next season with the duo. Hence, it appears Lukaku would surely be the first amongst the returning loanees to get his chance under Mourinho, and sooner rather than later.
Kevin de Bruyne
Second on the list of loanees who’d probably get included in Jose’s squad is another stand out Belgian, Kevin De Bruyne. In spite of the escalating array of talents in the midfield, Kevin’s generally impressive outing at Werder Bremen, getting 8 goals and 12 assists from the midfield, has thrust him forward as one of the players worthy of team selection. With Mata, Oscar, Hazard, and Ramires comprising our principal players in the attacking third, it would be interesting to see how Kevin breaks into that fold. It’s safe to say Kevin would surely contribute, and immensely, to the team’s quality and indeed depth. Personally, I can’t wait to see how he blends with others and influences the team in general.
If reports are to be believed, the only remotely decent defensive midfielder who has been in Chelsea for 7yrs – Mikel – who continuously has opinion divided amongst fans, has reported his interest in joining the Turkish team, Galatasaray. Essien, who would be returning from his loan at Madrid, would have been a fitting replacement but spates of niggling injuries has impaired his audacious tackling ability but we also saw him get deployed to the left-back position at Madrid last season.
Thus, the need for an outright defensive midfielder becomes more imperative. In Nathaniel Chalobah, we have a rapidly developing DM. He is barely 20, but if we are really sincere in the promotion of youth with the potentials, then Nathan surely deserves a go at first team action. Playing over 40 games for Zola’s Watford, Nathan was pivotal in helping Watford to the play-off finals. However, he has been found suspect in some of his games, but the void of genuine DM would necessitate the inclusion of at least a promising one and I think Nathan fits that bill.
Patrick van Aanholt
Last season, Ashley Cole was grudgingly granted a year contract extension having attained age 33. This in effect, signals the need for a new left-back as it’s unlikely Cole’s contract would be renewed after it elapses. Bertrand, Cole’s understudy, can be best put at average, game-wise. Arguably, he’s got more downs to his game than ups, and for a Chelsea left-back, that’s simply substandard.
With Van Aanholt however, the case is quite different. Patrick played a couple of games for Chelsea before he was shipped off on loan. Offensively, he’s just like the old, adventurous Cole and defensively…well, he’s improving. I believe he is definitely an upgrade to Bertrand, and to an extent, the ageing Cole. Having spent considerable time learning the ropes at Vitesse, it’s only right we recall Patrick to provide cover for Cole and hold the fort after Cole’s run ends.
At first glance, the quartet of Luiz, Terry, Ivanovic and Cahill in the backline appears satisfactory but it’s only when the season begins that we’d see the need for an extra defender. A sudden injury hit of one of our defenders, plus the intermediate International commitments, and our backline could become decimated, which could well destabilize the team.
To avoid this scenario, at no cost is 19 year old Kenneth Omeruo, waiting in the wings. It’s hard to gauge his unseen club performances, but going by his outing at AFCON and his recent displays in the Confederations Cup, it would be logical to have him do the ropes under Terry & co. If you’ve seen how he had Cavani and Suarez in his pockets, you’d definitely see him as a bright prospect, worthy of a shot at the Premier League
The point though it’s not just stating the attributes and prospects of these players but rather centred on how they’d logically complement the team. As you must have noticed, each player mentioned are made to ,or have the capacity to enrich the team by filling up on those positions that lack adaptable options. Apart from De Bruyne whose performances clearly merit first team action, other players listed would provide viable back-ups and also, more vitally, add depth to the squad, whilst Chelsea’s budding youth development programme would begin to make a whole lot more sense.
By Salako Aramide