At Bundesliga club Borussia Mönchengladbach, two players who once shared the pitch in the youth ranks of Chelsea have been sharing the same dressing room for the last couple seasons. One of them is attacking midfielder Thorgan Hazard, the younger brother of Eden who decided to make his loan at Gladbach in the 2014-15 season into a permanent one in the summer of 2015. The other is Danish defender Andreas Christensen, who is currently on loan from Chelsea but still hopes to make it at his parent club.
Since his arrival at Gladbach, Christensen has grown into one of the best young defenders in the world. In an interview with Goal’s Nizaar Kinsella, Thorgan credits his club for backing Christensen and tips the player for greatness.
"When he arrived everybody in the team and at the club were saying 'wow, what a defender, what a player'. He can play football, he is strong, he is fast, he is intelligent and so he has helped us a lot and helped us get Champions League qualification."
"I think he has a great future and he can play at a top, top level at a top, top team. When a 19-year-old comes into defence like this and does this and I am very confident about his future."
"We have a good relationship and we played also at Chelsea for a month. We played in the youth team and trained together, but I didn’t realise until he came here that he was so good."
Another Chelsea hopeful with whom Thorgan had the chance to play was Charly Musonda. His fellow countryman has endured a disappointing season so far with a failed loan at Real Betis in the first half of the season and zero minutes so far for Chelsea since coming back. Despite these set-backs, Thorgan knows Charly will keep on fighting for a place in Chelsea's first team.
"Charly is a friend. He decided to go on loan to Betis and the first year he was fantastic for Charly. After that there was a change in the coach. They changed the trainer and sometimes they want to play with you and sometimes they don’t want to."
"So after he decided to return to Chelsea and he decided to take a place in the squad so I know Charly and I think he is a winner. He will fight for that and I hope he can do this [play for Chelsea]."
"I think he knows also that there are very good players in his position, so he needs to fight very, very hard. My brother, Willian and Pedro and it is a lot of players."
The third main topic of conversation was Chelsea's loan system, which has more than its fair share of critics. Thorgan however had mostly nice things to say about it, even though he himself grabbed basically his first chance to leave it. As it turns out, that flexibility, to choose your path to a certain extent, is part of his praise.
"I think it is a good system that Chelsea have and they have a lot of young players who need to play. At Chelsea you have a very good team so it is difficult sometimes for the younger players."
"For that reason they go on loan, to develop them and after the first year on loan. I came here and sometimes the players will go back or sometimes they want to stay and play like me."
"There can be the opportunity to play in Chelsea, but you have to decide whether you need another year away [at the end of every season]. If the player thinks he is ready to go back to Chelsea then they will let you go."
"As we saw with me, Romelu Lukaku and Kevin De Bruyne. If you want to go, it is your decision. I am not sure, but I think it was the decision from those guys to go - as well as me away from Chelsea. But the system is very good for the player and it is good that they don’t block you and, if you want to go then go."
-Thorgan Hazard; Source: Goal.com
While the loan system in only starting to bear fruit for Chelsea proper (Moses, perhaps Ake), many graduates of the system have found great success elsewhere, generating a bit of income and helping the bottom line in the meantime. Chelsea's loan system remains the blueprint others try to emulate.