Chelsea’s 2016-17 Loan Army is big enough to fill out three starting elevens, with at least one substitute each, even, but perhaps the most impressive of all has been 19-year-old Tammy Abraham, who’s continued his goal-scoring antics from the Chelsea youth teams at the professional level, hardly missing a beat along the way. Even though his current club Bristol City have struggled to avoid relegation — they need a late-season surge to continue in the Championship next season as well — Abraham has lit up the scoring charts with 23 league goals (of Bristol’s 51 total), plus three more in the cups in just two starts (and a handful of appearances as a substitute). In short, Tammy has passed his first loan test with flying colors.
Now of course comes the tough part of trying to decide what’s next for the kid. Chelsea are obviously not selling him — we’ve supposedly rebuffed offers north of £10m for him in January already — but a loan to a Premier League or perhaps a better Championship side could be the obvious move. There’s also the possibility that he makes the first-team next season, though we probably shouldn’t bet too much on that. While Conte has kept an eye on the kid and spoke highly of him even as far back as the fall, we don’t exactly have too much prior evidence to back up any such hopes.
That said, Tammy, as per his agent, remains focused on the long-term goal of hitting his targets in Chelsea colors.
“Tammy has made a statement with the season he has had and shown his enormous potential. For certain his target will be playing regularly in Chelsea first team, we will have to see when that comes. This is a question for Antonio Conte, he must decide whether Tammy is ready or not.”
“The key is to continue his development, and that is best served by the experience of playing matches.”
“For sure, Tammy enjoys playing more than anything else. But, this is a question that must be answered by Chelsea. And at the end of the season collectively we must decide what the next step to continue his progression is.”
-Eliot Van Til; source: IB Times UK
With Diego Costa largely expected to leave and perhaps replaced by Romelu Lukaku in the process, Tammy’s chances could very well hinge on pre-season and probably the near-term future of a certain Michy Batshuayi as well. Should Chelsea need to replace both of our center forwards this summer, Abraham may yet have a decent chance.
As always, there are no easy choices and no easy solutions. But this season’s loan army has had nigh-unparalleled success (certainly in terms of goal-scoring) and we’ve even managed to reintegrate a few former loanees (Victor Moses, first and foremost, but also Nathaniel Chalobah), so maybe we’re finally starting to figure out this whole system we’ve created for ourselves.