In a perfect world, Chelsea would cut young Andreas Christensen's two-year loan to Borussia Mönchengladbach in half this summer, bring the young defender back into the fold, integrate him into the first-team alongside Kurt Zouma (and/or Gary Cahill and/or a new signing), and live happily ever after or at least for the next decade or so at center back. Zouma and Christensen is the perfect dream at the moment, complementary in style and skill, acquired on the cheap, developed partially on loan, partially at the club, homegrown (at least in Christensen's case), and world class. In a perfect world.
But of course we don't live in a perfect world. We live in a world where the Champions of England have become mired in mid-table mediocrity. We live in a world where Gary Cahill signed a new long-term contract and Kurt Zouma is rehabbing a potentially career-altering injury. We live in a world where Chelsea are more apt to buy a more established, non-world class defender (Kostas Manolas, Kalidou Koulibaly) or overspend on overhyped English talent (John Stones) than spend big on actual world class defenders (any available?) or roll the dice with youth.
We live in a world where said youth are more than aware of this — Christensen always has been, in all fairness — and thus will make career choices appropriately. And for the young center back who's now established at both his loan-club and his country's national side, the priority right now is playing time. That's what the Guardian's Dom Fifield is reporting this evening, pouring on a bit of cold water on the reports from Germany earlier today of Chelsea's fanciful plans to swap out Christensen for Nathan Ake at Gladbach next season.
The report claims that it is actually Christensen himself who'd be the hardest to convince of this arrangement — Gladbach might be tempted given proper compensation — and who can blame him? He's quickly become an indispensable part of the team, both in the league and in Europe and that's set to continue next season, too. For his career and his continuing development, staying in Germany is the way to go. Even with a new coach coming in and potentially upending the existing depth chart and hierarchy of playing time, there's far more uncertainty in returning to Chelsea early than finishing out the two-year loan.
That doesn't mean this isn't possible; it will just take a lot of convincing and a few promises to do so.