Chelsea’s divisive loan model isn’t for everyone, but few can understate its effectiveness in helping the Blues fund their summer transfer plans.
The Blues have been criticised by purists who believe players should be allowed to. move freely, as opposed to being stockpiled at one club for the majority of their careers and sent to a new club every season.
One example of such a tactic is Matej Delac. The Croatian goalkeeper arrived at the club from Inter Zapresic in 2010, was farmed out on loan eight times and never played a senior game for the west London club, before leaving for Danish club Horsens in 2018.
There have been beneficiaries from the system, though. Take Mario Pasalic, who was signed for £3m and sold to Atalanta for a £12m profit in 2020 after several temporary spells.
Ryan Bertrand also rocked up at seven different clubs before making his debut for the Blues in the Champions League final in 2012. He has gone to forge a respectable career at Southampton and has featured at international level for England.
The number of players being sent out on loan is gradually decreasing, with Chelsea keeping tabs on just the 33 players this season.
Mirror Sport takes a look at how they fared and what the future holds for the ‘loan army’ ahead of the summer transfer window…
The 20-year-old has already bid farewell to the Swans after an impressive season in which he made 45 appearances.
After their defeat in the Championship Play-off Final, Guehi is likely to be kept at Chelsea for pre-season so that Thomas Tuchel can get a closer look at the centre-back.
The defender arrived on a free transfer from Nice last summer and was immediately sent on loan to Porto.
His loan agreement prevented the 21-year-old from facing his parent club in the Champions League this season, but his performances for the Portuguese side suggest he could have a part to play for Tuchel this season.
The England midfielder’s future looks uncertain, with Aston Villa unlikely to turn his loan into a permanent deal, and he will relish the chance to get his career back on track under Tuchel.
The 27-year-old will no doubt be itching for a chance to impress his new manager when he gets back to Cobham for pre-season, but he may still be sold to fund moves elsewhere.
A player who looks to have a bright future in west London, Gallagher could follow Mason Mount and Reece James in breaking into the first-team this summer.
The creative midfielder, 21, showed glimpses of his ability for West Brom, despite their relegation from the top-flight, and he will be eager to prove himself in training while his colleagues are at Euro 2020.
Like Barkley, Loftus-Cheek has reached a crossroads at Chelsea.
The 25-year-old has never quite looked the same since rupturing his Achilles in May 2019 and an unsuccessful loan spell with Fulham would not have helped his chances of rebuilding his career.
The fact Tuchel name-checked the attacker in a press conference earlier this season, however, suggests he is at least in his thoughts for the new season.
The Albania international has shone at Vitesse, his first foray into senior football, with 10 goals and two assists in 30 games in the Netherlands.
The 19-year-old was rated highly by Lampard, having appeared in the FA Cup win over Grimsby last season.
His performances have reportedly earned him a new deal, as well as a place in Chelsea’s first-team squad for 2021-22.
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Six clean sheets in 16 outings suggested the 22-year-old goalkeeper was comfortable at League One level with Accrington Stanley, before a shoulder injury ended his season.
Cumming is yet to make his Chelsea debut despite being promoted to the senior squad under Lampard. Sent on loan to Stevenage for the 2020-21 campaign, the 21-year-old looks set for another temporary switch.
The younger brother of Nathaniel has made a name for himself at Ligue 1 outfit Lorient, with two goals in 29 appearances.
Another loan spell, perhaps abroad again, beckons for the 20-year-old.
The Dutch youngster is highly regarded at Stamford Bridge and may earn a move to a top-flight club next season after shining on loan with League One side Charlton, where he made 34 appearances.
The versatile Welshman has finally been granted regular football at Sheffield United after frustration with Chelsea and RB Leipzig.
Tuchel may decide to send him out on loan again, with several defensive options at his disposal.
The midfielder was part of the Bristol Rovers side that was relegated to League Two this season but his stellar efforts were widely recognised by pundits and his manager.
Reports of interest from Milwall could see the 22-year-old head to the Championship, either on loan or permanently.
The 20-year-old featured largely for Brighton ’s Under-23 side during his short time with the Seagulls and the defender may benefit from some lower league experience for his next move.
One of four Chelsea youngsters to head to Accrington, Uwakwe has fared reasonably well with the League Outfit scoring four goals and assisting another four.
The 21-year-old struggled for game time towards the end of the season but should have no trouble finding a club in the third tier again.
Russell was a semi-regular figure in the Accrington midfield, making 25 appearances in all competitions.
Much like Uwakwe, the 20-year-old could quite easily return to the club next season.
The teenager spent time with Derby’s Under-18 squad this season and looks set to head back to Cobham.
Blackman is one of the original Chelsea loan army members but the towering goalkeeper must feel his days are numbered in west London.
Remarkably, his spell at Rotherham United this season was his eighth since becoming a professional and the 27-year-old surely sees his future elsewhere, with his contract expiring this summer.
Considering Chelsea’s defensive issues under Lampard, it was strange Tomori was left out in the cold by Lampard after excelling in Italy.
The 23-year-old has found form again on loan with AC Milan this season and the England international looks set to complete a £26m switch to the San Siro, after the Rossoneri secured Champions League football for the forthcoming campaign.
The Dutchman joined Chelsea in 2016 and has spent the majority of his days back in his homeland with Jong Ajax, AZ and ADO Den Haag this season.
It would therefore be logical to assume the 21-year-old will head back to the Eredivisie with only a year left to run on his current deal.
Handed his debut by Guus Hiddink in the 2015-16 campaign, Clarke-Salter hasn’t quite kicked on and a frustrating loan at Birmingham summarised his misfortune.
Now 23, the centre-back may prefer to seal a permanent move away rather than add another loan to his growing list of clubs, with the Championship his most likely destination.
One of several odd signings made in the summer of 2015, the USA international has spent the majority of Chelsea career elsewhere.
Miazga has been a regular for Anderlecht this season with 30 games under his belt and Chelsea will happily entertain offers for the centre-back to offload him this summer.
The Nigerian has finally found a permanent home after nine years with Chelsea, agreeing to join Spartak Moscow in a £4.5m deal in April after a successful loan in Russia.
Unless you follow Chelsea closely, you could be forgiven for forgetting Baba Rahman was still a Chelsea player after falling off the grid following his £17m move in 2015.
The Ghanaian has spent the last six months with Greek side PAOK in a bid to impress prospective buyers, with a year left to run on his contract.
The Italy international has done well to recover from a serious knee injury which brought an end to his loan spell with Roma.
Now 28, Zappacosta looks set for a move back to Serie A after impressing with Genoa, who survived relegation with the full-back playing a key role.
Another transfer nightmare Chelsea cannot wake themselves from, Bakayoko looks set to finally be sold this summer.
Loans to Monaco, AC Milan and now Napoli have failed to transition into permanent transfers, but the Frenchman will be keen to head for the exit after failing to make the grade in London.
Jose Mourinho famously once said he would have “failed” if Baker wasn’t a success at Chelsea. But it looks increasingly like the talented midfielder will find his calling away from his boyhood club.
The 26-year-old has been a regular feature under Eddie Newton at Trabzonspor and, with a permanent option included in the agreement, Baker could end his 16-year association with the Blues.
File Drinkwater’s loan move to Turkish Super Lig outfit Kasimpasa in the ‘bizarre English loans’ folder.
His time in Turkey has rendered only 11 appearances and Drinkwater now faces a battle to find a new club, with Chelsea keen to remove his £100,000-a-week salary from their wage bill.
Signed from Partizan in 2015, Pantic has rarely featured in the setup and spent most of his time back in his native Serbia.
His deal comes to an end this summer and there is no chance of an extension.
Marco van Ginkel
You will struggle to find a player who has been as unfortunate as Van Ginkel has been with injuries, so it is a testament to his ability he is still playing at the top level.
Despite returning for a third spell on loan at PSV, reports in the Netherlands suggest the 29-year-old has not done enough to earn a permanent switch and he looks set to leave as a free agent.
The Belgian has struggled for game time in his second season on loan at Crystal Palace, scoring twice in 20 appearances and looks set to be sacrificed after five years at Chelsea.
Football.london report Leeds are keen to bring in the 27-year-old for a cut-price fee to provide competition for Patrick Bamford and Rodrigo — with Chelsea set to ask for £10m in return.
Brown was part of the Chelsea side that dominated academy football seven years ago but injuries have hampered his development.
The forward’s loan move to Sheffield Wednesday was the seventh of his career and after starting only four games in the second tier, he will be surplus to requirements at Stamford Bridge.
A player who featured intermittently under Jose Mourinho and Guus Hiddink in 2015-16, but since then has been farmed to several European clubs.
The Brazilian has found form with Granada, helping the LaLiga side reach the Europa League quarter-finals before their exit to Manchester United. Chelsea should make a healthy profit from his sale.
Ugo has enjoyed a fine campaign in Belgium with Cercle Brugge, scoring 16 goals to help keep the Jupiler Pro outfit in the division.
The Athletic reported Watford were in talks over a £5m deal for Ugo in April and it seems Chelsea may cash in, including a sell-on clause in case he reaches his promising potential.