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Even as far back as the beginning of pre-season, commentators were becoming mystified as to how and why Chelsea have so many players out on loan.
To be honest, despite being title winners last season, their policy is not a genius and is simply about quantity and about having a large chequebook. They buy up as much young talent as they can so other clubs cannot get their hands on them, then naturally have to loan them out to give them game time.
This summer alone, Chelsea FC sent out Todd Kane, Danilo Pantic, Cristian Cuevas, Ola Aina, Jamal Blackman, Mario Pasalic, Jeremie Boga, Michael Hector, Matt Miazga, Kenneth Omeruo, Tammy Abraham, Nathan, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Tomas Kalas and Lewis Baker on loan deals. That’s 15 players on loan.
Two of those players, Abraham and Loftus-Cheek have even ended up in the England squad. Surely it’s about time this ended? Abraham spent all of last season learning his trade in the Championship at Bristol City and has confirmed his ability to England manager Gareth Southgate while playing and training at Swansea.
If he turns out to be brilliant, Chelsea can simply put him in their first-team next season without having had to do any of the hard work or take a chance on the lad. All they had to do was throw money at him. The same goes for Loftus-Cheek at Palace.
Should Sheffield United make it to the Premier League with Jamal Blackman in goal, they would feel thoroughly entitled to have the ‘keeper in their side in the top flight too, but should Chelsea feel like it, they can simply not allow him to play for a rival.
Lewis Baker is coming along just nicely at Middlesbrough, starting 6 Championship games and coming off the bench in another 4. His pass completion rate of 80%, his 2 goals in 13 appearances overall from midfield and his average of 1.4 key passes per game for a player averaging just 58 minutes a game is very impressive.
He clearly has talent but he should be allowed to carry on expressing it. Playing with an eye on impressing Antonio Conte who, quite frankly, could be taking no notice whatsoever is doing him more harm than good but committing himself to Boro and to a promotion campaign could yet be the making of him.
The fate of Abraham and Loftus-Cheek, at least in the short term, should serve as a reminder that he may well go further in the game away from Stamford Bridge.