Lucas Piazon and The Pathway Less Travelled

Recently, one of Chelsea’s longest serving players departed permanently. Lucas Piazon has left the Blues after nine years of being a part of the club.

Lucas Piazon: The Loan Journeyman

Piazon may not be a household name, but many Chelsea supporters will know him as the so-called leader of the Loan Army. The Brazilian managed just three senior appearances for Chelsea due to him being loaned out quite literally all over the world for the majority of his nine-year stint as a Chelsea player. Piazon was sent to clubs Malaga, Vitesse Arnhem, Frankfurt, Reading Fulham, Chievo and Rio Ave before finally securing a permanent deal with Portuguese side Braga.

While some had optimism for Piazon and saw his talents the opportunity for him simply just wasn’t there. His final Chelsea appearance coming back on the bench in the 18/19 season during a League Cup game against Tottenham, it was clear that there just, unfortunately, wasn’t a place for him in this team. While some Chelsea fans were disappointed in the club letting him go citing wasted potential, at 27, there is still a chance Piazon can revitalize his career elsewhere.

Lucas Piazon in pre-season for Chelsea.
Lucas Piazon never really got a chance at Stamford Bridge. Image Credit: Paul Kane via Getty Images.

Would it be different for Lucas Piazon if he broke through in 2021?

While Piazon’s loan nightmare has finally come to an end, how has his journey affected the others within our loan army and how has it changed over the years? It’s very clear that with Frank Lampard’s Chelsea youth players are the focal point of the team. However, we still have many academy players that have shown talent that are still out on loan. While players like Tammy Abraham, Mason Mount, Billy Gilmour and Callum Hudson-Odoi have been made into first team members over the past couple seasons, there are other Academy and loan players that are still waiting for their chances. Academy players such as Tino Livramento, Tino Anjorin, Lewis Bate and Jude Soonsup-Bell still have the Chelsea faithful hopeful, we can’t help but wonder what will become of some of our loan players.

Some current loanees it seems are beginning their transition out of the club already. Players like Bakayoko, Moses, Zappacosta, Barkley and Batshuayi seem to be the next to be offloaded when the opportunity presents itself. But what of the young loan players that are yet to truly show the Chelsea first team what they have to offer? Where does the club stand on players like Armando Broja, Conor Gallagher, Ethan Ampadu, Marc Guehi and Ian Maatsen. Will players like these be given the chance Piazon never was?

Piazon in pre-season action against Arsenal.
One of Lucas Piazon’s final Chelsea appearance came in pre-season against Arsenal. Image Credit: Charles McQuillian via Getty Images.

What Lessons can Chelsea learn?

It’s clear that the pathway for players coming through our academy and loan system is now very different buy why? Is it the coach? The talent? Chelsea are notorious for their loan army and over the past few seasons the army has been slimming down. It is no longer a sustainable business model for retaining players and keeping them happy. It has now become a way to get developing players game time. Recent news of Fikayo Tomori being loaned out has recently stolen headlines. Lampard himself has even stated he wants Tomori to be a part of the future of this club. Now whether that is going to be the case, even if Lampard has a future at this club remains to be seen.

The difference is these players have shown quality. Anjorin, Ampadu, Guehi, Maatsen and Broja are all seen as the next wave of youth players to come through our system. They have already been given first team opportunites and have impressed. So, Chelsea decides to send them out on loan to develop their game. To enhance their quality and bring them back an improved player worthy of being able to lineup in a Premier League Chelsea side. They almost make up a shortlist of players Chelsea are keeping a very very close eye on while on loan to be able to create plans for the future.

Are there players that will be stuck in the Lucas Piazon prison? To be honest, I don’t think a player will ever be within a team for that long again. Nine years is a very long time in this game to even be a part of a first team squad.

Final Thoughts

Chelsea’s new focus on their youth players is proving successful and with an academy as great as ours it is easy to look from within rather than trying to buy every year. Influential young players will be given early preseason opportunities and then most likely sent on loan to develop before given another first team chance.

The system within Chelsea has changed and it is only an added bonus that the quality of these players is already being seen. Now fans can only help that these young talents game improves and before long we will be able to see more academy products on the first team team sheet.

Sadly, Lucas Piazon may be a necessary sacrifice to achieve this change.

Written by John Tateossian (@johntat16)

Edited by Rob Pratley

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