Chelsea loan report: Five stars hoping for a first-team place next season

Chelsea’s loan army is as vast as it is talented, with an incredible 37 players all currently farmed out to other clubs across Europe in an operation spanning England’s Football League, the Turkish top flight, the Bundesliga and the Russian Premier League to name just a handful of the exotic locations it has touched this season alone.

The purpose of Chelsea’s loan operation was initially to make profit amid an era in which Financial Fair Play appeared set to restrict clubs’ activity in the transfer market based on their overall net spend. But the incredible form of Kevin De Bruyne and Mohamed Salah this season for two of Chelsea’s biggest divisional rivals, Manchester City and Liverpool respectively, only highlight how detrimental that approach has been at times, and in any case FFP has proved far less influential than many expected.

So the focus for Chelsea has shifted somewhat, and the real question now is whether any of those currently out on loan have what it takes to follow the path of Andreas Christensen by becoming a first-team regular at Stamford Bridge. Here’s a look at five candidates for 2017/18…