Chelsea had an interesting article up on their front page this morning with quotes about several of our loanees. Those quotes came from assistant coach Steve Holland, and do a nice job of giving us some insight into what the club might be thinking with all of them.
Holland mentions both Romelu Lukaku and Kevin De Bruyne as having impressive seasons on loan, but I'm going to skip over those comments today. If you want to read what he had to say about the pair, I'd highly recommend reading the full article. We already know the boss thinks highly of them though, and that the pair are likely to be part of the fist team next season.
Beyond the Belgian duo, Holland also talked about several of the kids that came through the academy ranks and spent time at some less televised clubs. On the Vitesse Arnhem trio:
'Patrick has matured as a player and person; it's been the best loan period of his career to date. Tomas could ultimately become a centre-back, but he's been able to develop his football at right-back, where he has to get up and down and work the ball a bit more.
'Kakuta played more towards the end of the season, mainly on the left wing in a 4-4-2 or 4-4-1-1 formation. He's only scored one goal so there are parts of his game he can work on, but the important thing for Gael is that he's regularly managed to hold down a place. He's working much harder off the ball and makes a good contribution defensively. He's had a number of assists, and if he can just add goals to his game, he'll be ready to make the next step.'
From his comments, it wouldn't surprise me if the club is planning on taking a close look at Patrick van Aanholt this summer, with the idea of potentially working him into the Chelsea first team. It doesn't sound like that's the case with Gael Kakuta, who'd I'd assume will be looking at another season on loan.
Most interesting here is the assessment of Tomas Kalas though, as he's had solid seasons at both centerback and on the right side of the defense for Vitesse. I had assumed the move to the right this season was pushed on Vitesse by Chelsea, but now I'm not entirely certain that this is where they see him long term. It's certainly interesting to think about, and it will be worth watching where he ends up next season.
On Lucas Piazon:
'Malaga did well in La Liga and the Champions League. Without starting many games Lucas has been in and around the team and played regularly as a sub, so that will have done him good. He now has to go and play 38 to 40 games next season.'
I honestly thought that Piazon would see quite a bit more action, but the return from injury by Julio Baptista certainly cut into the potential minutes he received. It sounds as thought the plan for him this season is to find him a club where he'll start regularly next year, and that sounds like a fine idea to me.
On Sam Hutchinson:
'He played some games at Forest at a good level, and when he played he didn't look out of place. The problem has been his other knee, not the one he had surgery on, but hopefully he'll be able to work hard on strengthening work during the close season. If he can solve those medical issues he'll be a player that will have a good career.'
Hutch is an interesting one, as his contract is up in a matter of weeks, but he was not released early by the club along with guys like Archange Nkumu and Ross Turnbull. That would suggest that the club is looking to keep Sam around for at least another year, while Holland's comments don't really make me feel like they believe his future will be at Chelsea. I suppose he'll be one to watch this summer.
On Josh McEachran:
'When Middlesbrough were doing particularly well in the first half of the season, he was also doing well. The team tailed off after Christmas and his form coincided with that a little bit. It's difficult sometimes for a young player in that situation but, having said that, there were enough positives to suggest Josh is a player heading in the right direction and will benefit from having a full season at Championship level.'
I'd have to agree with Holland's assessment of Josh. I pointed out earlier in the year that McEachran was the type of player that was likely to bloom a bit later than most, just due to the fact that his game will require a very advanced reading of what the opposition is doing in order to be at its best. He doesn't drop any hints at what the club is thinking with McEachran at the moment, but I'd certainly hope they're making sure he's resting up after a long season at Boro.