He only played one game at Euro 2020, but few of the players received the accolades that Billy Gilmore received after his performance as Man of the Match for Scotland at Wembley against England in the group stage of the tournament. The 20-year-old’s potential has been evident for some time, but this performance underscored his status as the sport’s future superstar.
Gilmore was scheduled to start Scotland’s final match in Group D against Croatia, but was kicked out after testing positive for Covid-19. However, the young midfielder has done enough to prove he can perform at the elite level of European football. Chelsea fans were as thrilled to see this as they were in Scotland.
However, it now appears that Gilmore could be sent on loan to Chelsea. Norwich City are believed to be leading the pursuit of the 20-year-old for the 2021-22 season, but Wolves, Newcastle United and Rangers have also been cited as potential contenders. It seems increasingly unlikely that Gilmore will be at Stamford Bridge once the new campaign begins.
It would be logical to give Gilmore on loan. At this stage in his development, the Scotsman needs first-team football to grow. He needs to play week after week and is unlikely to get that level of playing time at Stamford Bridge next season. This is why the move to a place like Norwich is likely to please Chelsea and perhaps even Gilmore himself.
Reece James and Mason Mount were loaned earlier in their careers and used this experience to return to their parent club as more versatile players. Perhaps Gilmore would benefit from such an agreement. A year on lease may be exactly what he needs to reach the required level.
The difference, however, is that Gilmore has already made a breakthrough at Chelsea. The 20-year-old began playing in the Champions League and Premier League last season, and some Chelsea fans have already clamored for even more playing time. Gilmore is already a good option for Thomas Tuchel’s first team.
Rather than renting him out, there is a strong case for Chelsea to keep Gilmore in an elite environment to play against elite teammates. See how Manchester City nurtured Phil Foden into the world-class talent he is today. They gave up the opportunity to send him on loan as a teenager and instead dedicated him to training at an elite level.
Gilmour’s innate talent is comparable to that of Foden, and as such, Chelsea may need to learn from the way Manchester City raised England. Credit deals can work well, as James and Mount argue, but they come with inherent risk. It is imperative that Chelsea find a club that aligns with their own values in raising Gilmore.
Norwich City currently play technical football very similar to Chelsea, but what happens if Daniel Farke is fired and replaced by a more conservative coach mid-season that could sideline Gilmore? If Chelsea thinks Gilmore is truly a promising elite player, they should treat him like one of them.