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Mid-season Loan Review, Part II: Keeping up with Chelsea players on loan in various European leagues

In case you missed it, you can read Part I of this series here, which covers all the players out on loan in England.

Andreas Bødtker Christensen (Borussia Monchengladbach)
1899 Hoffenheim v Borussia Moenchengladbach - Bundesliga Photo by Matthias Hangst/Bongarts/Getty Images

The highly rated 19-year-old center back was handed three appearances for the Chelsea first-team last season (all as a right back), one substitute Premier League appearance and a start in each of the two domestic cup competitions, which did include *that* game against Bradford in the FA Cup. Nevertheless, the youngster was accepted by German side Borussia Monchengladbach on a two-season loan this summer, a slight departure from our usual one-year loan strategy. His debut came in the opening game of the season, a game he'd definitely like to forget: he partnered 20-year-old Marvin Schulz in the centre of a defence that was taken apart with ease by Borussia Dortmund. Christensen's next league start only came a whole month later, following the resignation of manager Lucien Favre, with Andre Schubert taking over.

Ever since, Andreas has been a mainstay in the heart of Die Fohlenelf's defence, partnering Alvaro Dominguez, Havard Nordveit and most recently Nico Elvedi, in both three-man and four-man defensive configurations. Christensen's impressed many this season, and while the physical aspect of his game needs a bit more work (as one would expect from a teenager), he's regularly showcasing an ability to read the game that's well beyond his years.  Thanks to Gladbach's European qualifications, he has also gained quality experience against top-level opposition in the Champions League, performing well against the likes of Juventus, Manchester City and Sevilla. After a lengthy unbeaten run (which included a 3-1 victory over Bayern Munich) following the appointment of Schubert, Gladbach recently lost three consecutive games across three different competitions, but returned to winning ways with a 3-2 victory over Darmstadt before the winter break.

This loan has probably been our most successful this season and hopefully it will continue the same way for the remainder of this season (and maybe the next as well).  Ideally, Christensen will then be able to "do a Courtois" and become the second loan army member to be successfully integrated into the first team.

Mario Pašalić (AS Monaco)
Tottenham Hotspur FC v AS Monaco FC - UEFA Europa League Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images

Following a successful loan spell with Elche in La Liga last season, Chelsea sent the 20-year-old central midfielder, partly as compensation for the incoming Falcao, on loan to AS Monaco, who faced the prospect of playing Champions League football but couldn't make it past the qualifying rounds and dropped into the Europa League instead. Usually deployed in a 3-man midfield, Pašalić has found himself in the goals fairly often (5 in all competitions), despite not always turning in the most influential shifts for the side. The young Croatian has 18 starts and 21 appearances in total, but even though game-time hasn't been an issue, he must greatly improve his performances in order to have a look in at Chelsea next season.

Jérémie Boga (Stade Rennais)
MK Dons v Chelsea XI - Pre-Season Friendly Photo by Pete Norton/Getty Images

Earning plenty of plaudits with his explosive performances in the Chelsea youth setup, Boga was sent on a season-long loan to Stade Rennais in the French Ligue 1, despite being heavily linked to Spanish side Rayo Vallecano in the summer. At Rennes, the 18-year-old has seen most of his minutes come as ~20 minute cameos from the bench, more often than not as center-forward, as opposed to his more natural attacking midfield position. To date, he has made thirteen appearances, with two starts each in the league and the cup, even scoring his first professional goal and appearing in a dream of mine, set in a local bus. [Ed's note: The author's dreams do not represent official WAGNH policy.] Always looking to threaten with a drop of the shoulder and the ability to take a man on reminiscent of that of Eden Hazard, there is reason to believe that we will be seeing more of Boga in the months to come, although preferably not as someone who's tasked with leading the line.

Dominic Ayodele Solanke-Mitchell (Vitesse Arnhem)
Bosnia U21 v England U21 - European Under 21 Qualifier Photo by Srdjan Stevanovic/Getty Images

After a couple prolific seasons with the Chelsea youth and a first senior appearance against NK Maribor in the Champions League, now 18-year-old Dominic Solanke was one of the five players sent on loan to Vitesse this year. He had to wait until the end of August to step onto the pitch however, as he had to wait for special clearance from FIFA to play in the Netherlands as a 17-year-old. Ever since the 20th of September, young Dom has been Vitesse's first-choice striker, displacing the much older Abiola Dauda after three substitute appearances.

With 16 appearances and 13 starts in all competitions, Solanke is Vitesse's top scorer with five goals and has made his presence known in the Eredivisie. He is evidently still raw, and can struggle at times when dealing with older, stronger defenders, but his ability to create a chance out of seemingly nothing never ceases to catch the eye. Great things are expected from the striker, and hopefully many more goals will follow when the Dutch league resumes in a couple weeks.

Lewis Renard Baker (Vitesse Arnhem)
Bosnia U21 v England U21 - European Under 21 Qualifier Photo by Srdjan Stevanovic/Getty Images

The oldest out of Chelsea's youngsters at Vitesse this season, 20-year-old Lewis Baker, following a praiseworthy loan spell at MK Dons at the end of last season, was tasked with filling the huge void left in Vitesse's midfield by the departures of Marko Vejinovic and Davy Propper (and, to some extent, Josh McEachran). Although he has also been deployed in an attacking role in the absence of the talismanic Valeri Qazaishvili, Baker is almost always played as a deep-lying playmaker. In that role, he's generally tidy but rather conservative with his passing, less incisive than we know he's capable of.  (It's plausible that this may well be a tactical instruction from manager Peter Bosz.) Baker's never afraid to have an effort from distance though, and has come very close to scoring on many occasions. He does have three goals, two of which came from the penalty spot, and has made an equal number of assists.  His two-footred set piece prowess remains notable.

After starting the first 13 games of the season, Baker was relegated to the bench, with the manager opting to field the experienced ex-captain of Maccabi Tel Aviv, Sheran Yeini (who arguably hasn't impressed much either) for a more physical presence in front of the back-line.  I wouldn't hesitate to back Baker to break back into the side sooner rather than later, although another season on loan is vital for him before considering a Chelsea return.

Isaiah Jay Brown (Vitesse Arnhem)
Wycombe Wanderers v Chelsea - Pre Season Friendly Photo by Ben Hoskins/Getty Images

Yet another 18-year-old out on loan, Izzy Brown had already made his Premier League debut with West Bromwich Albion back in 2013, at only 16. This was followed by a move to Chelsea, where he enjoyed success with the youth teams, even captaining the U-19 side to the 2014-15 UEFA Youth League title less than 24 hours after being named on the bench for the first-team's clash against local rivals QPR.

After starting Vitesse's first three league games, in addition to their unsuccessful Champions League qualifying fixtures against Southampton, Izzy was benched for an extended period, seeing mostly paltry minutes from the bench. Also battling a few injuries, Izzy made only seven appearances off the bench but showed good form for the Vitesse Reserves. He made his return to the first-team for Vitesse's last two matches before the break, replacing Solanke as striker in the former and starting the latter, in which he provided an assist. With Vitesse's wingers not in the best of forms, Izzy seems to have taken his chance with open arms and will most likely earn more minutes in the remainder of the season.

Todd Arthur Lucien Kane (NEC Nijmegen)
Chelsea FC v Seattle Sounders FC Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

Let's talk about Toddy Kane. The 22-year-old, with Chelsea since the under-8 level, is currently in the midst of what might be his most successful out of his five loan spells so far, the previous four all coming at lower-league English clubs. Opting against playing with fellow Chelsea youngsters at our preferred loan destination in the Netherlands, Vitesse Arnhem, Todd Kane has approached this season with an interesting, even combative mindset.

He preferred Vitesse's bitter Gelderland rivals, NEC Nijmegen, who earned promotion to the league this season, and has often spoken candidly to the Dutch press, making controversial and bold statements about the style of play in the Eredivisie, and even openly criticising his teammates' attitudes one occasion. He is clearly enjoying his time in Nijmegen though, starting all of the club's games after an initial two substitute appearances and becoming a key member in the side.  NEC sit a surprising 6th, just one point below Vitesse.

In his most recent interview, Kane reaffirmed that he still believes that he can make it at Chelsea, a fact you would also be able to gauge by having a look at his Twitter account. Todd Kane for Right-back, 2016; Todd Kane for President as well.

Bekanty Victorien Angban (STVV)

Here's the trialist we didn't know about, who "unofficially" joined us on trial in 2012 alongside Bertrand Traoré, but could only officially sign for the club this year. He was sent to Belgian side Sint-Truiden along with two other players to further his development. The 19-year-old central midfielder has become an important player for the club, making 14 appearances and 12 starts, only missing out on games due to suspension and most recently, injury. His impressive displays in the Belgian Jupiler League have even earned him call-ups to the Cote d'Ivoire National Team, although he hasn't yet to make an appearance.

Despite his relatively low-profile loan destination, this youngster is one to look out for.

Nathaniel Nyakie Chalobah (SSC Napoli)
SSC Napoli v Legia Warszawa - UEFA Europa League Photo by Francesco Pecoraro/Getty Images

Nate Chalobah's 2012-13 spell with Watford, after which Jose Mourinho said the midfielder was only one loan away from making the first team, seems half the world away now. Since then, Chalobah has had loan stints at various Championship clubs with varying fortunes, namely Nottingham Forest, Middlesbrough and Reading, with a rather forgettable spell at then-Premier League side Burnley sandwiched in between. In short, his development has terribly stalled over the last two and a half years and now, at the age of 21 he inexplicably finds himself not only in Italy, but with one of the stronger sides in the Serie A, Napoli.

Facing competition from the likes of David Lopez, Jorginho, Mirko Valdifiori and Allan Loureiro, it was never going to be easy for Chalobah to adapt to a new country and league, and displace older, more experienced midfielders. Add to that the little incentive for Napoli play the youngster due to the lack of a buy-option on the loan deal, and unsurprisingly one finds that Chalobah barely has any minutes to his name. With two Europa League starts in dead rubber games and one substitute appearance in the cup, Chalobah has amassed a total of 199 minutes of football.

Things do look a bit brighter now than before though, with him impressing in the recent minutes handed to him and even scoring his first goal in a Europa League game against Legia Warsaw. While this stint was no doubt always going to be a valuable learning experience, it's probably not been the best decision for anyone involved. Even though Chalobah has claimed to be enjoying his time in Italy, he should probably be looking at switching teams this January. Carpi have shown interest as of late, and even though sending him to yet another Italian club seems like a risky move at first, the fact that Carpi are of a much lower stature may prove useful in his favour.

Juan Guillermo Cuadrado Bello (Juventus)
Juventus FC v ACF Fiorentina - Serie A Photo by Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images

The Colombian winger arrived a bit less than a year ago, and though he wasn't given many chances, he failed to impress whenever he was, and struggled obviously to adapt to the Premier League and his new teammates. A loan to Juventus was wrapped up in the summer, which meant that Cuadrado was well on his way out of Chelsea if he impressed sufficiently at his temporary club for the season. He comfortably found his feet once again in the Serie A, making 20 appearances for Juventus so far (12 of them being starts), scoring twice and assisting four times. After an initial run of starts, he has had a lesser role in recent times, due to a change in formation.

Although talks over Cuadrado have apparently been shifted by a month to February instead of January as initially planned and his situation may have become a bit more muddied following the managerial change at Chelsea, one thing seems certain, this summer, Cuadrado will either be retained or be gone for good. At 27, it's hard to imagine he'll stay a part of our loan army for much longer.

Marko Marin (Trabzonspor)
Chelsea v Wigan Athletic - Premier League Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

The man, the myth, the legend, the German Messi — Marko Marin, after loan spells at Fiorentina, Sevilla and Anderlecht, has finally begun to find some semblance of form and consistency whilst having relatively less injury troubles than before, playing for Trabzonspor in the Turkish Super Lig. Note that I say some semblance, because he has still only made 7 starts for the Turkish side, which is only three less than the most number of starts he has made for any team since leaving Werder Bremen in 2012 (at Sevilla). Maybe, just maybe, he has finally found a new home, unless his training ground "bust-up" is indication of something negative brewing behind the scenes.

Kenneth Joasiah Omeruo (Kasimpasa)
Leeds United v Middlesbrough - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Paul Thomas/Getty Images

After spending one and a half seasons at both ADO Den Haag in the Eredivise and Middlesbrough in the Championship, where he was once part of a formidable defence alongside Dani Ayala but fell out of favour due to a dip in form towards the end of his spell, Kenneth was farmed out to Kasimpasa in Turkey. He has been a regular starter (just as he has been for the national team), whenever available, and with the club amply pleased with the Nigerian, it would come as no surprise if they tried to make his loan deal permanent in January or at the end of the season.

Wallace Oliveira Dos Santos (Carpi/Gremio)
Vitesse Arnhem v Chelsea - Pre Season Friendly Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

Signed in the winter of 2012 from Fluminense, the right-back joined the team for the following pre-season and captured the attentions of fans with his display against the Thailand All-Stars. Unfortunately, the terrible decision to send him on loan to Inter Milan was made after, where he made a whopping four appearances (one start) all season. After seeing significantly more minutes with Vitesse in 2014/15, the Brazillian was sent back to try his luck in the Serie A, this time with newcomers and current relegation strugglers Carpi. Although his second stint in the Serie A has been better than his first, the improvement has been only marginal. He has 7 appearances in all competitions, two of them being starts.

As things stand, his loan has been cut short and he is most likely going to spend the remainder of the season back in Brazil with Gremio.

Stipe Perica (Udinese)
Torino FC v Udinese Calcio - Serie A Photo by Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images

The Croatian striker spent his initial one and a half years as a Chelsea player on loan at NAC Breda, where he showcased his eye for goal but saw his role reduced to a bit-part one following a managerial change. He was subsequently sent to Udinese in the Serie A in search of more minutes, also against slightly better quality opposition. Perica is set to stay at Udinese till June, 2016 but has found himself mostly watching the on-field proceedings, being named on the substitutes bench 15 times this season but being called upon only thrice. In total, he has 7 appearances (4 starts) and has scored two goals; his last goal proved to be the winner against Torino in the Serie A, on the 20th of December.  Perhaps his role is finally set to increase a bit?

Nathan Allan De Souza (Vitesse Arnhem)
Atletico PR v Goias  - Brasileirao Series A 2014 Photo by Heuler Andrey/Getty Images

Signed from Atletico PR in the summer, the left winger was immediately farmed out to Vitesse, where he has made eleven appearances, although only three of them were starts. He scored an excellent goal in his second appearance. an exquisite curler from the edge of the box. Nathan has, no doubt, impressed when up against tired defences as a substitute and is full of tricks and skills, but is highly erratic. He hasn't made an appearance for Vitesse since the beginning of November, with an injury keeping him out until after the new year.

Danilo Pantić (Vitesse Arnhem)
FK Partizan v Tottenham Hotspur FC - UEFA Europa League Photo by Srdjan Stevanovic/Getty Images

Also signed in the summer and immediately loaned out, the 19-year-old attacking midfielder has only 126 minutes of playing time in all competitions to his name, all from the bench. As of now, his only chance of breaking into the first XI seems to be an injury to other players, like Valeri Qazaishvili.

Cristián Alejandro Cuevas Jara; Joao Leandro Rodríguez González (STVV)

Both players officially joined Chelsea in 2013, and have had a series of drab loan spells so far, and are on their fourth and fifth loans respectively. Cuevas seems to have finally found his level in the Jupiler League with Sint-Truiden, making 13 starts so far and even scoring once.  The same can't be said for 19-year-old Rodriguez.  In all his loan spells combined so far he's had 1048 minutes of playing time, out of which 311 have come this season. Although he's still young, things aren't quite going for the Colombian as he would have hoped.

Cristian Manea (Royal Mouscron)
U16 Romania v U16 Germany - UEFA Under 16 Tournament Photo by Ian Walton/Bongarts/Getty Images

Although his signing from Viitorul Constanta was reported back in September, 2014, the Romanian fullback was officially on Chelsea's books only in the summer of 2015.  (Probably; it's all a bit unclear.)

As the youngest player to appear for the Romanian national team since 1928, there was a fair bit of hype that Manea has so far failed to live up to, out on loan with Belgian side Royal Mouscron. He has played only 232 minutes of football in 4 appearances including a start each in the league and the cup. His first start in the Jupiler League came in Mouscron's last game, against Standard Liege.  Speaking afterwards, Manea said he was enjoying his time there, and targeted holding down a starting spot at Mouscron and eventually, the national team. We can only hope he follows up on his claims!

Islam Salieh Feruz (Hibernian)
Manchester City v Chelsea - Barclays U21 Premier League Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images

In less than two years, Islam Feruz has done it all. He has signed on loan for clubs in the Russian second tier, the Greek first tier, and now, the Scottish second tier, for reasons known to none of us. Of course, there was a failed Blackpool spell in between there somewhere, too.

Heading back to his adopted home country this season with promises to turn over a new leaf, Feruz has had little to no luck with Hibs, making six substitute appearances for a total of 63 minutes. Once a highly touted prospect, Feruz has been caught in a vortex of confusing loans, injuries, questions about attitude, and other such unwanted controversy. I'm sure he's hoping, like the rest of us, that 2016 is a year full of promise for him.

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