Being an up and coming player at Chelsea usually means you’ll end up being loaned out at some point – probably to Vitesse.
With 34 players currently out on loan, it is no secret that being a youngster at Chelsea is notoriously unforgiving, with only a select few seeping through the cracks to reach the first team squad.
Is it time for Chelsea to show more faith in their young stars? An abundance of talent thriving away from Stamford Bridge this season suggests so. Here are four men, who perhaps should’ve been kept under Antonio Conte’s watch…
4. Izzy Brown
Izzy Brown enjoyed an impressive breakthrough season at Huddersfield last season, helping them gain promotion to the Premier League.
He was instrumental in the Terriers’ push for promotion, scoring eight goals and registering six assists despite not playing consistently. This earned him a four-year deal at Chelsea, which he penned before the start of the current season, which shows Conte’s desire to keep the striker.
Now on loan at Brighton, he’ll be hoping that Chris Hughton will give him the opportunity to showcase his talents on a mire regular basis in the Premier league. Still only 20 year-old, Brown could certainly have a future at Stamford Bridge, if he continues to fulfil his huge potential.
3. Ruben Loftus-Cheek
Gifted with power, strength and immense technical ability, Ruben Loftus-Cheek has been the star of Chelsea’s youth teams in recent years.
Having been a bit part player for the Blues last season, including several notable substitute performances, the 21 year-old agreed to go loan to Crystal Palace this season. Despite the Eagles’ torrid start to the season, Loftus-Cheek has been the one consistent bright spark in an otherwise poor campaign.
His performances in recent weeks have earned him a call up to the England squad for the upcoming friendlies with Germany and Brazil, so he’ll be hoping to showcase his ability on the international stage.
With Chelsea often overrun in midfield going forward this campaign, his 6ft 2in frame would help add some presence into the Chelsea attack.
2. Tammy Abraham
Tammy Abraham is unquestionably one of England’s brightest sparks for the future. Blessed with incredible pace, close dribbling and clinical finishing, the 20 year-old is certainly destined for big things.
Las season he was on loan in the Championship at Bristol City, where he netted an impressive 26 goals in 48 appearances in all competitions for the Robins. He also became the first Bristol City player to win the Player of the Year, Young Player of the Year and Top Goalscorer awards in the same season.
While Swansea have struggled this season, Tammy Abraham has been the brightest spark at the Liberty, much like Loftus-Cheek at Crystal Palace. With four goals and two assists, he too has been granted a call up from Gareth Southgate for the upcoming international friendlies.
Abraham could easily be in the Chelsea squad if his recent performances are anything to go by. This season could see him blossom into the type of striker Chelsea are looking for to challenge Alvaro Morata and Michy Batshuayi.
1. Kurt Zouma
Arguably Chelsea’s most high profile loanee, Zouma signed a new six-year deal with the club before heading to Stoke for the remainder of the season. A regular in the 2015/16 campaign under Mourinho and Hiddink, the 23 year-old centre back has struggled with injuries during his time at Stamford Bridge, meaning his game time has slowly shifted to the likes of David Luiz and Gary Cahill.
Despite this, a intelligent loan move to Stoke this season has seen him become a regular feature in Mark Hughes’ starting eleven, forming a formidable partnership with Ryan Shawcross at the back. Potters boss Mark Hughes was understandably delighted with the coup, hailing Zouma as “undoubtedly one of the most talented defenders in the game.”
Definitely one for the future, it would be very surprising if Chelsea don’t start to integrate Zouma into first team next season. He has long been lauded as the best young centre back in world football, and with Chelsea’s defence being questioned more than ever with David Luiz being dropped, Kurt Zouma could be exactly what Antonio Conte is looking for.