Antonio Conte had a very successful year last season. With a smaller schedule than some of their league rivals they were able to romp through to the league title without much squad rotation needed. However next season will be different, playing in Europe will put a strain on the teams fitness and will require Conte to rotate some of his starting XI.
Last season Conte wasn’t a fan of playing the youth, but I’m going to show 5 players that I think would be able to make a difference for the blues or possibly even shine for other teams while out on loan. Seeing as that’s Chelsea’s usual business plan when it comes to youth, that is the more likely outcome. We’ve seen players like Nathan Ake and Bertrand Traore shine under other clubs and that has seen them get (relatively) big money moves away from the Bridge.
A skillful box to box midfielder with an eye for a quality assist, Chalobah is the kind of player that Chelsea should be happy to have in their squad. Well represented for country at youth level, the youngster has many plaudits and with good reason. The only problem is that his play time last year wasn’t as fruitful as he/ Chelsea fans may have wanted. To add salt to the wounds, Chelsea appear to be signing Bakayoko from Monaco in the coming days, a player who plays in a similar mold to Chalobah. Ray Wilkins, a former Chelsea player, also reiterated this point in an interview and clearly showed his frustration for the lack of playing time the youngsters receiving. In the past few days it has been reported that Nathaniel has wanted out of the Bridge in per suit of more playing time. If this was to be pulled off it would be a huge loss to Chelsea, but if he was kept on for another season I’m sure they would reap the rewards of this youngsters talent.
The 21 year old Danish center back has excelled in his last two seasons out on loan at Borussia Monchengladbach. In fact he’s performed so well that he received the fans player of the year award for the 15/16 season. With the departure of Chelsea legend John Terry, surely this is the perfect time for Conte to bring back the young stalwart in to the blues side. The 6’2 defender would (at least on paper) slide right in to the side. He’s a physical no nonsense defender with now, a lot more experience than he had at his first spell at the Bridge. With players like Gary Cahill giving fans fits at the back, and with the desire to play Azpilicueta wide than rather in the center, it would give Christensen a good chance to get into the rotation and get some minutes under his belt in a blues shirt. However, the problem with Christensen which is similar to Chalobah is that Chelsea appear to be in the market for a central defender. If players like Rudiger or Bonucci came in, it would likely force a player like Christensen out. Seeing as Christensen has an apparent new found love for Gladbach, I’m sure the player wont mind that outcome too much.
It was only a few years ago when people were praising this youngster after helping Chelsea win the U21 Premier League, and natural comparisons were made claiming Baker to be the next Frank Lampard. However, a few years on and some questionable loan moves later it had seemed that Baker was looking more like the next Josh McEachran. This season was a real turning point in his career, a successful spell with dutch side Vitesse Arnhem saw the now 22 year old score 15 goals and register 7 assists. Hes also had a fantastic summer by shining in a very talented England team at the U21 European championships. Although he may not quite have the quality of some of Chelsea’s current midfield core, he certainly does have the potential to make a difference. I believe that if Baker is patient and works hard in training he will have his chances in the first team under Antonio Conte. At the age of 22 though, Bakers main aim will probably be first team football, so I imagine a loan move away is on the cards.
The 20 year old Belgian has skill and pace to burn. A little different to most of the other Chelsea youth prospects, Musonda is a small dynamo of a player who was praised for his play whilst out on loan at Real Betis at the start of the 16/17 season. Musonda was recalled back from his loan in January, but was unable to make an impact on the starting team from there. Predominantly a winger, but can also play in the center of midfield, Charly likes to be fed the ball and can then create opportunities from that. Seeing as Chelsea are relatively thin at the wing position, Musonda may get more chances in the first team next season. Especially seeing as fellow countryman Eden Hazard will be out for the foreseeable future with a fractured ankle. Not seen as an instant starter, he may be seen as an option for coming on and playing as an impact sub in tight games. He may even be able to pick up some minutes in the cups or when Chelsea are convincingly leading in games. Overall I can see Musonda staying and showing his worth with the Blues. I can see a big money move happening in the future for the youngster.
Another box to box midfielder with undoubted quality, Loftus- Cheek is another youth player on the fringe of the first team. The 21 year old England youth international only played 11 times in total for the blues last year. He did however have some impressive stats considering most of those appearances were from the subs bench. He managed 2 assists and had a 82% pass accuracy, which shows how comfortable on the ball this youngster is. He also managed an 80% tackle completion rate, showing he has a defensive side to his game as well. As the player ages, his general style of play will mature and I can see the young lion becoming a Chelsea star in the future. Hopefully he will get more minutes under Antonio Conte next year. It will be hard for the player to get into the team ahead of players such as Kante or Fabregas, but I imagine Loftus-Cheek will take his chances when he can because it looks as if Chelsea aren’t looking to loan out the player.
These 5 players I have listed, I believe could make a difference in some way or another for Chelsea in the up coming season. Looking at history though I cannot see all of these players getting the minutes they may require to progress in their careers. Also who do you think could make the difference for the Blues next year? Please comment down below! Thanks