The Most Likely Stars of Chelsea’s 2020/21 Loan Army

Ethan Ampadu is expected to challenge for a spot at Chelsea next season | Harry Trump/Getty Images

Every year, Chelsea send a hefty group of players out on loan across the globe, and one or two always come back looking ready for a spot in the first team.

In years gone by, it’s been the Kevin De Bruynes, the Romelu Lukakus and the Mohamed Salahs who have excelled on loan and been sold on for profit, but these days, there’s a genuine chance for those players to pull on Chelsea blue – just ask Reece James, Mason Mount, Tammy Abraham and Fikayo Tomori.

Let’s take a look at who might prosper from their loans this season.

Ross BarkleyBarkley has been brilliant with Villa | James Williamson – AMA/Getty Images

Does Ross Barkley even count? He’s an established England international already, but we’ll chuck him on at the end of this list as a reward for his excellent start to the season with Aston Villa.

Barkley may not be an emerging youngster, but he’s a fringe player at Chelsea who is currently proving that he has what it takes to be a genuine star in the Premier League.

90min understands Barkley has played his way back into Frank Lampard’s plans, but even if his future lies elsewhere, he could earn Chelsea a pretty penny next summer.

Ian MaatsenMaatsen made his Chelsea debut last season | Pete Norton/Getty Images

After making his Chelsea debut last season, Dutch left-back Ian Maatsen was sent out to League One’s Charlton for his first taste of regular senior football.

The 18-year-old has enjoyed an outstanding start to life at The Valley and already looks at home playing alongside players twice his age.

The fact that he’s playing in the third tier of English football means fans shouldn’t start expecting the world of Maatsen just yet, but this has been a positive first step for the Dutchman.

Trevoh ChalobahChalobah is now playing top-flight football | Jean Catuffe/Getty Images

After two years in the Championship, defensive midfielder Trevoh Chalobah was given his first taste of top-flight football last summer when he joined Ligue 1’s Lorient on loan.

Predictably, the newly promoted side have struggled this season, but Chalobah has managed to impress nonetheless. His solid performances have already made him a big hit with Lorient fans.

Given he plays in what could well be Chelsea’s weakest position, you can guarantee that club scouts will be keeping a close eye on the 21-year-old’s development this season.

FBL-ENG-PR-WEST BROM-BURNLEYGallagher has earned a spell in the top flight | LAURENCE GRIFFITHS/Getty Images

Perhaps the star of the 2019/20 loan army, Conor Gallagher was rewarded for his impressive form in the Championship with a move to Premier League newcomers West Brom.

The Baggies’ general lack of quality have made it hard for Gallagher to showcase his full skill set, but he’s still managed to flash glimpses of his true ability.

We’ve seen Gallagher’s work rate shine through, but his composure on the ball has impressed too. He might not be the star of the show, but he looks set to prove he can hang in the Premier League.

Malang SarrSarr was instantly sent out on loan | Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Chelsea fans are yet to see anything of Malang Sarr, the 21-year-old Frenchman who was snapped up for free during the summer and instantly added to the loan list.

It was Porto who eventually snapped Sarr up, and the centre-back has already experienced life in the Champions League, impressing against both Manchester City and Marseille.

Holding down a permanent place in the starting lineup hasn’t come easy just yet, but it looks like Sarr will command a regular spot in the near future, and that could be the spark needed to take this loan to the next level.

Patrick Bamford, Ethan AmpaduAmpadu had been tipped for a spot in the first team this year | Pool/Getty Images

There was some frustration at Ethan Ampadu’s move to Sheffield United, but the reality is that he’s a 20-year-old youngster with no consistent senior football in the last three years. He needed the move.

While the Blades are looking like relegation candidates this season, that’s through no fault of Ampadu, who has impressed both as a centre-back and a defensive midfielder.

If he can continue to show his ability against some of the Premier League’s top sides, there might just be a spot in the Chelsea first team for the young Welshman next year.

Armando BrojaBroja is starring in the Eredivisie | Soccrates Images/Getty Images

It feels like there’s quiet a big jump up to the top two.

Firstly, we start with Armando Broja. A 19-year-old Albanian striker, Broja has followed in the footsteps of so many by heading over to Vitesse, but unlike so many before him, he’s actually impressing.

He has commanded a place in the Dutch side’s starting XI and has helped steer them towards an Eredivisie title challenge, leading the team in scoring heading in to the November international break.

The last Chelsea player to really impress with Vitesse? A certain Mason Mount.

Swansea City v Blackburn Rovers - Sky Bet ChampionshipGuehi has been brilliant in Swansea | Athena Pictures/Getty Images

For Chelsea fans, all eyes should be on Marc Guehi, the 20-year-old centre-back who has been an integral part of the Swansea City side challenging for the Championship title.

Guehi’s step up to senior football, which actually started back in January, has been seamless, and Chelsea fans are already starting to get excited about a young player who looks set for a long, successful career at a high level.

He’s not ready to be Thiago Silva’s successor just yet, but if he can maintain this level of performance over the entire season, there’s a chance he’ll be in the conversation next summer.

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