You can’t imagine there are many jobs in football more demanding than Chelsea‘s loan manager. The club sent out thirty-seven players on loan in the 2020-21 season.
Former Chelsea goalkeeper Carlo Cudiccini is the unlucky man tasked as the club’s ‘loan player technical coach’, and he’s sure had his work cut out, given the sheer quantity of footballers on their books playing elsewhere.
*Deep breaths*: Here’s how each and every one of them fared in the 2020-21 season.
Chelsea’s longest-serving player started the campaign on the second year of a two-season loan at Portuguese outfit Rio Ave, the seventh club different he’d represented on loan since joining the Blues in 2012.
He scored two goals in eight Primeira Liga appearances in the first half of the campaign, which was enough for Braga to sign him permanently in January. Goodnight sweet prince, we hardly knew ye.
Brown rejoined Belgian side Union SG for a second loan but failed to make an appearance and was recalled by his parent club in October. Two months later, he signed for MK Dons on a permanent deal and has done alright for Russell Martin’s progressive possession-focused League One outfit.
At Chelsea since 2015 without having made a senior appearance, Pantic spent the latest season back in his native Serbia, turning out for Cukaricki, having previously been loaned out to Vitesse (of course), Excelsior, Hungarian club Fehervar and back-to-back seasons with boyhood club Partizan.
This time around, the 24-year-old attacking midfielder registered one goal and three assists in 28 Serbian Superliga appearances. He’s just been released by Chelsea after his contract expired.
On the books at Chelsea since the age of nine, Winchester-born academy graduate Cumming got the first senior experience of his career at League Two side Stevenage.
The 21-year-old goalkeeper played almost every match of their campaign, conceded 37 goals in 40 appearances, and kept 16 clean sheets.
After Football League loans to Ipswich and Huddersfield, Chalobah – younger brother of Watford stalwart Nathaniel – gained top-flight experience at French club Lorient.
He made 29 Ligue 1 appearances, slotting in at right-back, centre-back and the base of midfield, as Lorient finished 16th and narrowly escaped the drop.
The Lewisham-born England Under-20 international spent his fifth loan away from his boyhood club at Cercle Brugge and enjoyed the best season of his career to date.
He scored 16 goals in 32 appearances in the Jupiler Pro League and will be looking to follow in the footsteps of the likes of Romelu Lukaku, Aleksandar Mitrovic, Jonathan David, Wesley and Victor Osimhen – all of whom earned big-money moves after banging in the goals in the ever-improving Belgian top flight.
Slough-born Albania international Broja scored 10 goals in 30 Eredivisie appearances for Vitesse, his first regular taste of senior football.
The latest reports suggest that he’ll be offered a new contract, with some suggestions that Thomas Tuchel is eyeing him up for a place back in the first-team squad next term. One to watch.
— ChelseaFCBlogs (@ChelseaFCBlogs_) June 4, 2021
After his serious injury setbacks, reduced to a couple of brief cameos in a year at Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds, Brown has sadly failed to recapture the eye-catching form he showed at Huddersfield.
Following a promising season at Luton last term, he took a step backwards, making just four starts as Sheffield Wednesday as they failed to avoid the drop to League One, registering one assist and no goals in 529 minutes of football.
Chelsea have just released him after eight years on their books.
Former England Under-21 goalkeeper Blackman conceded 37 goals and kept six clean sheets in 26 Championship appearances for relegated Rotherham United. Another released by Chelsea this summer.
Sending Guehi back to work under Steve Cooper, his manager for England’s Under-17 level as they won the World Cup in 2017, has proven a canny move from Chelsea.
The centre-back impressed during the latter half of last season, and again for this full campaign, as Cooper’s Swansea suffered play-off heartbreak in back-to-back years. A strong candidate for their Player of the Year and a decent bloke to boot.
Swansea’s Marc Guehi is as sound as they come.
— HLTCO (@HLTCO) May 23, 2021
The teenage goalkeeper spent the first half of the season warming Burton Albion’s bench, making just three appearances in cup competitions, and was recalled in January. Chelsea elected against sending him elsewhere.
Academy graduate midfielder Uwakwe, 21, spent the first loan spell of his career at Accrington Stanley. He scored a hat-trick on his debut, an EFL Trophy match against Leeds’ Under-21s, and registered one goal and three assists in 15 League One appearances.
The highly-rated youngster may regret joining Sheffield United’s sinking ship in September, but being up against it and adapting between centre-back and defensive midfield could prove valuable experience.
Ampadu will be itching to put the miserable relegation season behind him and look ahead to Wales’ Euro 2020 campaign, having remained a key player in the 26-man squad. It will be interesting to see where he goes next after the setback.
After losing his way a little in his latter months at Newcastle, Kenedy seems to be enjoying himself in Spain. He scored eight goals for Granada in all competitions and showed a good attacker’s instinct to notch against Barcelona.
Kenedy gives Granada the lead against Barca! 🔴⚪
Umtiti gets caught in possession and Barcelona's defence are punished 👀 pic.twitter.com/BnzIWCMNpT
— Viaplay Sports UK (@ViaplaySportsUK) February 3, 2021
A previous half-season spell at Crystal Palace went well for Batshuayi; he scored six goals in 13 appearances for the club in 2018-19.
But going back to Selhurst Park wasn’t quite so successful this time around, and Roy Hodgson just didn’t seem to fancy him. Eleven of his 18 Premier League appearances were from the bench, and he only managed two goals.
Still, he made Roberto Martinez’s 26-man Belgium squad for the Euros.
The 21-year-old midfielder did alright for strugglers West Bromwich Albion in difficult circumstances, registering two goals and two assists in his debut Premier League campaign.
There’s plenty of gossip linking Gallagher with a permanent move away. If not, you can imagine another Championship loan might be on the cards next term. Chelsea’s answer to Harry Wilson.
Having featured on the periphery in his last four loan moves – Middlesbrough, Leeds, Reading, Fortuna Dusseldorf – Baker finally got regular football again at Turkish Super Lig side Trabzonspor.
He made 34 appearances in their league campaign, registering two goals and three assists as they finished fourth.
Italian right-back Zappacosta played a prominent role for Davide Ballardini’s Genoa as they finished a respectable 11th in Serie A, after his start was stunted by testing positive for Covid-19.
He capped off the campaign in particularly fine fettle, with two goals in his last three appearances, scoring against Sassuolo and Bologna, but he missed out on a place in Roberto Mancini’s Azzurri squad for the Euros.
Not to be confused with the veteran goalkeeper at Plymouth, Chelsea’s McCormick – with the club since he was six – spent the last season on loan at Bristol Rovers.
It was a campaign to forget as Joey Barton’s side finished rock bottom of League One, but the 22-year-old did at least gain some senior experience, after a previous stint at Shrewsbury didn’t amount to many opportunities. He made 39 appearances, playing over 3,000 minutes, and scoring six goals for the relegated Pirates.
The American goalkeeper was loaned to sixth-tier Dartford but recalled in February after a lack of playing time.
There was renewed talk of Barkley for England when he shone on his Aston Villa debut back in October, scoring in a 7-2 victory over Liverpool and showing some really encouraging link-up play with Jack Grealish and Ollie Watkins. He followed that up by scoring an injury-time match-winner against Leicester.
Fast-forward eight months and not even Barkley’s gran is calling for him to make Gareth Southgate’s final 26. Injury saw him sidelined for two months between November and January and he failed to find any kind of form on his return, eventually getting regularly benched by Dean Smith.
You can imagine there’ll be an awkward chat with Tuchel this summer. His days at Chelsea appear numbered.
Former Everton midfielder Ross Barkley enjoyed this one 😝pic.twitter.com/qPOsORni52
— GOAL (@goal) October 5, 2020
Having caught the eye as a dynamic box-to-box midfielder in the Blues’ youth set-up, 20-year-old Russell joined his fellow Cobham alumnus Uwakwe at Accrington Stanley in search of senior experience. He made 25 appearances in League One, scoring two goals, and made a good impression at the Crown Ground.
His contract is up at the end of June, but he didn’t appeared on Chelsea’s released list.
Miazga’s loan at Reading last season ended inauspiciously with a red card and three-match suspension for fighting with Derby’s Tom Lawrence, followed by one last appearance – a 4-1 defeat to Guehi’s Swansea.
The USA international centre-back got back on track at Anderlecht this season, featuring prominently in the Jupiler Pro League, although once again his campaign had an ending to forget – dismissed after just 13 minutes in his final appearance for the club, a 1-0 play-off defeat to Royal Antwerp.
Bakayoko has occasionally looked like refinding his old Monaco form after a difficult time of it at Stamford Bridge, particularly in a previous loan at Milan.
His latest stint, at Napoli, went reasonably well but it doesn’t appear likely there will be a permanent switch to the Stadio San Paolo. Gennaro Gattuso, who coached him at Milan and Napoli, is reportedly keen to sign him for Fiorentina this summer.
It’s strange to think now that three years have passed since Loftus-Cheek played a role to England’s run to the semi-finals at the 2018 World Cup, playing more minutes at the tournament than both Marcus Rashford and Eric Dier.
A serious achilles injury has stunted his progress since then, and it doesn’t appear his season at near neighbours Fulham had the desired effect on getting his career back on track.
“It’s doubtful his performances will have convinced Thomas Tuchel that he’s deserving of even a squad number at Chelsea next season,” wrote his season review on Fulham fan site Fulhamish.
“The prize for a successful loan spell with us should have been regaining a spot with Chelsea next season, and perhaps even forcing himself into the England squad for the Euros. But his performances have not given Gareth Southgate even a morsel of food for thought.”
Arriving at Chelsea last summer with a bright reputation, French centre-back Sarr was immediately loaned out to Porto.
The defender’s time in Portugal didn’t quite go as planned, and he ended up making as many appearances (eight) for Porto’s B team in the second tier as he did for the first team in the Primeira Liga.
Eight years younger than once-next-big-thing big brother Josh McEachran, 20-year-old George looks likely to follow a similar trajectory well away from the Chelsea first team.
He featured alongside Guehi, Phil Foden and Rhian Brewster in England’s Under-17s World Cup triumph four years ago and was named in the team of the tournament, but he’s yet to fulfil that early potential.
2020-21 saw him make three appearances for Dutch club MVV Maastricht before returning home in December for personal reasons, playing out the remainder of the season for the Blues’ Under-23s in the Premier League 2.
Marco van Ginkel
Van Ginkel rejoined PSV for a fourth loan, three years since his last stint there. Previous loans had proved successful with the Eredivisie giants, but not this one: 12 appearances, just three starts, 359 minutes, with one goal and one assist.
Eight years and four first-team appearances after originally joining Chelsea, Van Ginkel was released this summer.
Ajax academy graduate Castillo endured a third loan spell back in his native Netherlands this season, having previously returned to Jong Ajax before an unfruitful stint with AZ Alkmaar in the first half of 2020-21 – whereby he spent the early weeks of the campaign sidelined with Covid-19 and subsequently warming the bench.
The 21-year-old left-back was then sent out to AZ’s Eredivisie rivals ADO Den Haag and went on to play more of a role, making 17 appearances for the club that ultimately finished bottom.
One of six ‘keepers sent out on loan by Chelsea in 2020-21, don’t expect Baxter to be challenging for Edouard Mendy’s gloves anytime soon.
Having previously turned out for Metropolitan Police, Solihull Moors, Woking, Yeovil, Ross County, the 22-year-old was sent to Accrington alongside Uwakwe and Russell. He made 16 appearances in League One, conceded 14 goals, and kept seven clean sheets.
Midway through his nine years at Chelsea, Moses played a starring role in a Premier League title win, which is at least more than can be said of other perennial loanees Piazon and Van Ginkel.
His sixth and final loan was at Russian club Spartak Moscow, and he did well enough to finally seal a permanent move away from Stamford Bridge this summer.
Clarke-Salter is ridiculously decorated at youth level: three FA Youth Cups, two UEFA Youth League titles with Chelsea and the Under-20s World Cup and Under-21s Toulon Tournament with England. But as yet he’s struggled to stand out in senior football.
The 2020-21 campaign saw him spend a second season at Championship strugglers Birmingham City, and after some frustration with injury, he spent the majority of the campaign on the bench. He made just 10 appearances, and didn’t get a look-in once Lee Bowyer arrived as coach and turned the club’s fortunes around.
Sent out in January, the former Leicester midfielder made 11 appearances (six starts) for lesser-known Turkish Super Lig outfit Kasimpasa.
Drinkwater remains contracted at Stamford Bridge until 2022. They paid £35million for his services. What were they thinking?
Given the defensive record under Tuchel, there are unlikely to be many envious glances towards the San Siro, but by all accounts Tomori shone during his half-season at AC Milan.
In just five months, he made a big impression, and according to reports a permanent £25million deal is set to be completed in the coming days.
One of many you’ve probably forgotten are still on Chelsea’s books, Ghanain left-back Rahman was sent out to PAOK Thessaloniki for the second half of the season.
He scored on his debut, the first goal in a 4-0 drubbing of PAS Lamia, and went on to make 17 appearances for PAOK as they finished runners-up to Olympiacos.
The 20-year-old centre-back was sent to Brighton in January, but as at his parent club in the first half of the season, his appearances were restricted to the Premier League 2 for the Seagulls’ Under-23s.
The young striker was sent out to Derby County in January. He scored three goals in 13 appearances for the Rams’ Under-18s.
Euro 2020 is finally here – and what better way to celebrate than with a preview show to mark the launch of our new multi-sport website Planet Sport?