The January loan of Lucas Piazon to Malaga seemed like a strange one to many. Malaga already had a fair amount of talent at the positions that Piazon generally plays, and Malaga were a Champions League team playing in a league of similar quality to that of England.
Because of that, many jumped to the conclusion that Chelsea were using Piazon as a chip to acquire Malaga's best player, Isco. While the Blues may indeed have interest in Isco despite a boatload of similar talent, Marca reported yesterday on an agreement between the 2 clubs that really makes much more sense:
The club is struggling to advance too much without knowing if Manuel Pellegrini himself will be staying on as coach next season. However Sporting Director Mario Husillos has already signed an important agreement with Chelsea, a club with whom the South coast side already enjoys a close relationship after the loan move for Lucas Piazón in January.
The good form of the young Brazilian and the hard work he is putting in at the club has opened the door to more moves for similar Chelsea players, either on loan or for low fees this summer.
I must say, if this is correct, I love the idea. Barcelona and Real Madrid have driven the bulk of La Liga to the brink of financial ruin with their dominance of the TV revenue, opening the door for English clubs to step in and use La Liga as a high level finishing school for many of their top youngsters. With the money available in England, it's much harder to find clubs willing to take on top prospects on loan and break them into their first team, and in Malaga, Chelsea seem to have found a willing club who play a a similarly competitive level.
At present, Chelsea have a number of players who are probably ready for a club of that sort. Tomas Kalas, Patrick van Aanholt, Gael Kakuta, Nathaniel Chalobah, Todd Kane, Wallace, Kenneth Omeruo, and Josh McEachran* are all guys that could reasonably look to make a jump to that level. While Malaga itself may not be a fit for all of them, it certainly would be for some.
*Lazar Markovic would also fit nicely if a deal for him is finished
Unfortunately, Malaga won't be participating in European football next season unless they win their fight against UEFA. While they look a good bet to finish in the European places, they will be banned from the next European competition for which they qualify due to their failure to pay their debts.Not the end of the world, certainly, but having those extra minutes available always helps youngsters get more time on the pitch.
All in all, this news should be pleasing to most Chelsea fans. With England still refusing to adopt the "B team" system that has worked so well throughout the rest of the world, an agreement like this with a La Liga club could really help Chelsea bridge the gap to their first team. It should be good for both clubs and the players, and that's really all you can ask.