Making sense of Chelsea loaning Ryan Bertrand to Aston Villa

Christopher Lee

Why exactly did the Blues decide to send Ryan Bertrand to Aston Villa?

Many fans were surprised by the news today that Chelsea had sent left back Ryan Bertrand on loan for the remainder of the season. The move is both sensible and confusing at the same time, and may have an impact on what Chelsea do during the remainder of the transfer window.

As far as Ryan Bertrand is concerned, this move makes a lot of sense. Ryan wasn't getting any minutes this season, having fallen to third on the left back depth chart behind Ashley Cole and Cesar Azpilicueta. Given the choice of watching Chelsea from the stands this spring or relegating the terrible Antonio Luna to the bench, getting some actual time on the pitch seems like a no-brainer for Bertrand.

The logic is a bit fuzzier as far as Chelsea are concerned, as they already have a fairly small squad. While letting a third choice left back leave on loan doesn't seem like a big deal, it's considerably riskier when one of the two ahead of him is also a regular at right back. Carrying only three regular fullbacks in the squad seems like a recipe for disaster, especially if the club makes a deep run in both the FA Cup and Champions League.

As it stands, Chelsea can probably afford to take that sort of risk with both Tomas Kalas and Michael Essien capable of filling in at fullback. We've heard comments from the agent of Tomas Kalas, however, that would indicate he's expecting a loan. We've also heard from the agent of Michael Essien that he's expecting some sort of move as well. That would leave the Blues with only Cole, Azpilicueta, and Branislav Ivanovic as decent fullback options, and that makes me all sorts of nervous.

The media will likely take this move as an opportunity to link Chelsea to all sorts of January moves for a fullback, likely focusing on Southampton's Luke Shaw and Wolfsburg's Ricardo Rodriguez. While both would be excellent players for Chelsea to target, I'd be surprised if either club could be convinced to part with their starting left back during the January window. We may even hear some mention of a Patrick van Aanholt recall, though again, that seems unlikely.

After really thinking about why the club decided to do this, all I can really conclude is that this probably isn't a good sign for Ryan Bertrand's long term future at Chelsea, If Jose Mourinho seems willing to go with either Kalas or Essien as very real options at fullback, it's hard to believe he rates Bertrand at all based on what he's seen from him this season. In all likelihood this move is establishing some value and interest ahead of a summer sale, or another loan if he struggles.

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