Chelsea’s ‘loan army’ experiment failed with Lucas Piazon, but things are about to change


Lucas Piazon has not hesitated to voice his grievances over Chelsea’s loan policy since joining Rio Ave on a temporary contract in September.

The Brazilian is on his seventh loan since joining Chelsea in 2012, making stints in most of the big European leagues. He played in La Liga, Serie A, Bundesliga. But not the Premier League.

He was unlikely to have an opportunity at his parent club since pre-Antonio Conte era and in that sense you can understand the frustrations behind his recent comments regarding the ‘loan army’.

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A few weeks ago, in an interview with O Jogo, he said: “In Chelsea there was a lack of opportunities. Before I got loaned for the first time, I was there for six months, playing three games, two as a starter and one as a substitute. I have two assists in my CV, and I haven’t played for them since.

This was after previous claims that he had not been treated fairly by Chelsea and would force a proper move this summer despite being on contract until 2022. It should also be noted that he signed a new deal before heading to Rio Ave.

“My time at Chelsea is over. I’m 25, I’ve been on loan several times,” he said in the fall.

“I’ve been loaned out almost everywhere in Europe. I’m sick of playing here and there, I need a place where I can feel at home. I want to know that in July I will go back to the same place. , at the same house.

“I would have a good season on loan, but I would come back and I was loaned again soon. There was no point in going out on loan, playing well, coming back, not being used and being again. lent.

“There comes a point in your career that just doesn’t make sense. By the way, I said exactly that three years ago and it didn’t go so well at Chelsea, it caused some unease. “

The reality is he’s probably one of the latest batch of those seemingly perennial lenders who are sent to a new destination at the start of each season with the odds of a Stamford Bridge breakthrough diminishing each time.

The concept of the “loan army” has changed this season for a combination of reasons. The club’s transfer ban meant that the best in the squad from last season – down from 49 on loan compared to 27 this time – were offered opportunities from Frank Lampard’s side. Most notable Mason Mount, Fikayo Tomori and Tammy Abraham.

This has been largely a success and it now seems inevitable that the path from academy to the first string will remain wide open as long as Lampard is the head coach.

Second, Fifa is seeking to impose stricter limits on the number of players who can be loaned out. This means reducing gradually rather than ending up with an excess of stored players with nowhere to play.

The club will always use the loan market to their advantage, but instead of sending Piazon or Baba Rahman elsewhere for several consecutive seasons, they will use it strictly as a development tool for potential next academy graduates.

Piazon was a victim of the circumstances to a large extent; a good player in a club where excellence is sought after. But his career path is unlikely to be repeated in West London in the future.

The days of players at an age when they should reach their peak hoping to move from one loan club to another will be a thing of the past.

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