In Focus: Chelsea’s loan army battling for a future at the Bridge
Chelsea are hoping for a successful Premier League campaign — but their presence will be felt far beyond Stamford Bridge in 2021-22.
Competition for places is high with an embarrassment of riches for Thomas Tuchel, meaning the best bet for some is to spend a season elsewhere.
The West Londoners are renowned for sending masses of players out on loan and this summer has proved no different, with a hatful of stars shipped out prior to Tuesday evening’s deadline.
And while there have been more permanent departures than usual, some notable names are still hoping their time away from the club is only temporary.
Here, we look at where the key names from Chelsea’s loan army are playing their football this season.
Billy Gilmour — Norwich
One man who undoubtedly still has a future in West London is Billy Gilmour, who many have high hopes for at Chelsea.
The 20-year-old Scot burst onto the scene with some eye-catching performances last season and a man-of-the-match display against England at Euro 2020, making a term as a regular starter the obvious next stage in his development.
Daniel Farke’s Norwich were chosen as the ideal destination, with the Canaries’ possession-based approach suiting Gilmour’s game and the way Tuchel likes to play at Chelsea.
His three starts in the club's opening three Premier League games show he has not gone to Carrow Road just to make up the numbers.
Conor Gallagher — Crystal Palace
It may be Conor Gallagher’s fourth loan in three seasons but there is still a belief the 21-year-old can make the grade at the Bridge.
The attacking midfielder impressed in the Championship with Charlton and then Swansea during the 2019-20 season before shining during a difficult campaign for relegated West Brom in the Premier League last term.
Now part of Crystal Palace’s exciting new side, he scored an impressive double to earn the Eagles a 2-2 draw with West Ham in their most recent outing — and Tuchel will hope there is more of that to come.
Palace boss Patrick Vieira has no doubt Gallagher can continue that form. He said: "He is a really good finisher, has got a lot of energy and works really hard for the team.
"When he is in that kind of situation he will score goals for us."
Armando Broja — Southampton
Another in the seemingly endless line of impressive academy graduates at Chelsea, 19-year-old Armando Broja will get a shot at the Premier League this season.
The Albanian international scored 11 goals at Vitesse Arnhem last term and is already up and running at Southampton after netting twice against Newport County in the Carabao Cup last week.
Saints boss Ralph Hasenhuttl said: "I was happy with Armando — he was coming into the side and he was immediately there.
"He was good in the box. I am really happy now that we have a few striker alternatives who can really help us."
Michy Batshuayi — Besiktas
Michy Batshuayi’s loan spell to Turkish Super Lig side Besiktas — his fifth such stint since arriving at Stamford Bridge — came as no surprise.
But not many would have foreseen the Belgian agreeing a contract extension with the Blues until 2023 before leaving.
Batshuayi, 27, has spent time at Borussia Dortmund, Valencia and Crystal Palace with varying levels of success, grabbing 20 goals in 70 appearances in total across the three clubs.
Whether the striker is playing for his Chelsea future in Turkey or simply putting himself in the shop window for another move next year remains to be seen.
Ethan Ampadu — Venezia
Former Exeter midfielder Ethan Ampadu seems to have been around for a while but there is still plenty of time for the 20-year-old to make his mark.
The versatile defensive midfielder was a full Wales international by the age of 17 but struggled to make an impact during his first loan spell at RB Leipzig, making only three appearances for the German outfit.
But he was a solid, consistent performer despite a dismal campaign for Sheffield United on the whole last term.
Speaking last season, former Blades boss Chris Wilder said: "He is going to be a really good player and already is a good player. He’s a fabulous character."
And Ampadu will hope to show everyone what he can really do this term, having headed to Serie A for a season with newly-promoted Venezia.
Emerson Palmieri — Lyon
Tiemoue Bakayoko — AC Milan
Danny Drinkwater — Reading
Matt Miazga — Reading
Kenedy — Flamengo
Dujon Sterling — Blackpool
Baba Rahman — Reading
Ian Maatsen — Coventry
Jake Clarke-Salter — Coventry
Thierno Ballo — Rapid Vienna
Karlo Ziger — NK Rudar Velenje
Nathan Baxter — Hull
Juan Castillo — Birmingham
Jamie Cumming — Gillingham
Levi Colwil — Huddersfield
Henry Lawrence — AFC Wimbledon