Gallagher’s brilliance, Broja’s pitch and the ones Chelsea might have forgotten – 2021/22 loan review

For the majority of the past 10-15 years we have seen an abundance of Chelsea youngsters go out on loan all over Europe, however, the past couple of years have really shown the quality that Cobham is producing and this season is arguably the most impressive yet.

With so many young players taking the next step in their careers all over the world, it is proving to be fruitful for many as we have been able to see what is potentially the next generation of Chelsea first team players.

Two of Chelsea's loan players compete in training. (Photo by Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images)
Two of Chelsea’s loan players compete in training. (Photo by Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images)

Over the past few years we have seen the likes of Mason Mount, Reece James, Tammy Abraham and Fikayo Tomori (amongst others) all break into the first team and make careers for themselves. Despite the latter moving on they were able to break into the Chelsea first team, but had it not been for their loan moves, we may not have seen the very best of them.

In this, I will be taking a look at some of the many young players who went out on loan this season and will analyse their season as well as looking at their potential chances of breaking into the first team for next season.

Premier League loan players:

Conor Gallagher:

  • Age:22
  • Nationality: England
  • Position : CM
  • Club on loan: Crystal Palace
  • Club success: 12th position, FA Cup semi-final, Carabao Cup second round

It’s been an immensely impressive season for Gallagher with 13 goals and assists this season for Palace and he was arguably their most exciting player this season in which was a season of enjoyment for Eagles supporters. His best run of form came towards the end of 2021 and into the start of 2022 which rewarded him with a senior England call-up.

There was a point earlier on in the season when Chelsea were in poor form and struggling with injuries, as well as Covid problems and it seemed as if Tuchel would look to recall Gallagher and have him integrated into the first team.

It wasn’t meant to be this season for Gallagher, however  Thomas Tuchel has made it no secret that he is a big admirer of the midfielder and he is definitely going to be in the German’s plans for next season.

For me, I would love to see him in a Chelsea shirt next season and I can’t see a reason why he doesn’t start alongside Kante or Kovacic in a midfield two, or maybe use him in a more advanced rotational role like Mason Mount.

Armando Broja:

  • Age: 21
  • Nationality: Albania
  • Position: ST
  • Club on loan: Southampton
  • Club success: 14th position, FA Cup quarter-finals, Carabao Cup fourth round

As breakthrough seasons go, I would say that this has been a fairly successful one for Broja. Nine goals for Southampton in total and a lot of first team football in what was his first season in the top flight.

He started life brilliantly at St Mary’s although began to tail off towards the later stages of the season. Despite that though, he still made a name for himself and has been subject to many transfer rumors, with the likes of West Ham, and Southampton themselves, being linked to the young Albanian.

With the style of football we play it has been evident this season that Romelu Lukaku probably isn’t the best fit for our system, as he likes to drop deep and have the ball to feet, rather than breaking the lines and getting in behind which is something that we have seen Broja do a lot of this season. Because of this I think Broja could have a place in our team next season and could potentially see a lot of game time.

Billy Gilmour:

  • Age: 20
  • Nationality: Scotland
  • Position: CM
  • Club on loan: Norwich City
  • Club success: 20th position, FA Cup 5th round, Carabao Cup 3rd round

It has been a really tough season this year for Gilmour. Having burst into the first team under Frank Lampard it looked as if we had a new young star on our hands to break into the first team. However, having suffered an injury towards the end of the 2019/20 season, Gilmour required time out which hindered his progress massively.

He managed to play a small role in the first team last year, although he only 12 appearances last season, he managed to walk away with a Champions League winners medal.

It seemed like a good move for going to Norwich, with the potential of being their main man and having the chance to spark life into the Canaries. Unfortunately for the young Scot, he has been in and out of the team this season which has been tough for him to have a real impact and propel his career once again.

Going into next season I would love to see him back in Tuchel’s plans and see him part of the team, although it wouldn’t surprise me if he is sent out for a second loan to really benefit his career.

Billy Gilmour couldn't have the loan impact he had hoped for at Norwich @heathercreatess
Billy Gilmour couldn’t have the loan impact he had hoped for at Norwich @heathercreatess

Championship loan players

The majority of our loan players this season have been in the Championship, however not all have been as successful as others.

Levi Colwill:

  • Age: 19
  • Nationality: England
  • Position: CB
  • Club on loan: Huddersfield Town
  • Club success: Play-off final

I can imagine, much like myself, that many Chelsea fans wouldn’t have heard of Levi Colwill before this season, but you definitely would’ve now.

He has been immense for Huddersfield this season and easily cemented himself into their back four. He has been a rock in helping the Terriers back towards the promised land of the Premier League and was named in the EFL team of the season.

His confidence at both ends of the field have been the really impressive attributes to his game and have made him standout more than others. He’s very quick and physical which is very good to see for such a young defender considering the physical nature of the Championship.

His leadership skills at only 19 are fantastic to see. Following the play-off final defeat to Huddersfield, in which he scored the decisive own goal, he was the one picking up his teammates and consoling them which is baffling to see but shows what traits he has and the future player he will be.

Going into next season I believe that he probably would be sent out on loan which would most likely be the wisest option for him, however as a left sided cent54 back option I think he could be a good squad option, and it could be good experience for him as well.

Dujon Sterling:

  • Age: 22
  • Nationality: England
  • Position: wingback/fullback
  • Club on loan: Blackpool Town
  • Club success: 16th position

It’s been a really impressive season for Sterling. Going into a Blackpool team that like to play aggressive and expansive football was a wise decision from him. His versatility is what is really impressive about his game and is something that I think could see him integrated into the first team next season.

It’s been nice to see a team like Blackpool have a good season because they’re energetic and free flowing which allows young players to be expressive and confident in their play. Sterling has played a huge part in their team this season and has contributed massively in helping them stabilise their Championship status.

When looking at the first team, it’s hard to see a fit for Sterling at this current moment in time but with the lack of cover we have for either wingback position, it could leave a spot open for him.

Serie A loan players

Ethan Ampadu:

  • Age : 21
  • Nationality : Wales
  • Position : CM/CB
  • Club on loan : Venezia
  • Club success : 20th position

It’s been a really disappointing season for Venezia with their return to the Serie A ending with a finish at the bottom of the table, however it has been another successful loan for Ethan Ampadu.

The time may have gone for Ampadu to be seen as the next big thing following his lack of game time and poor loan at Leipzig but his gradual progression is drastically improving. It was clearly very tough for him at Sheffield United last season with his first full season at the pinnacle of English football proving to much for him but it was no doubt a different learning curve.

This season he has again gained great exposure with a smaller team in a league that is full of passion and free football which would no doubt develop his game. He played 30 games for the Venice side this season and registered three assists.

Despite the lack of success at club level it is on the international stage where he is really being seen for the player that he is. He is adored by the Welsh faithful and is seen as a future captain with 33 caps already at just 21 years old.

Written by Finn Glowacki (finn_glowacki22)

Edited by Tom Coley (@tomcoley49)

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