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Forgotten Chelsea loan warrior set to get long awaited pre-season chance

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Kenneth Omeruo has been on no less than five loan spells since his arrival at Chelsea in January 2012, playing for ADO Den Haag in the Netherlands, Middlesbrough (twice), and Turkish clubs Kasimpasa and Alanyaspor. He’s been undisputed first choice for all of them, except Middlesbrough where he was excellent for spells but fell out of favour quickly. The center-back was supposed to have finalised a permanent move to Besiktas last summer but it fell through, and a loan to lowly Alanyaspor resulted.

Due to a combination of injuries, international duties, and the aforementioned loan deals, Omeruo has never actually played a pre-season match for Chelsea during all this time (he did play a couple rehab matches for the under-21s three years ago), but it looks like his chance may finally come this summer. Speaking about his future after signing with The Temple Management Company, a representative firm, he categorically denied rumours that he was leaving Chelsea.

“I am going back to Chelsea for the pre-season tour to fight for a chance at the first team. A report that said I am quitting Chelsea is not true.”

- Kenneth Omeruo; source: The Temple Management Company

If this sounds familiar, don’t be surprised. Omeruo’s agent said something similar at this time last year, but the defender still didn’t travel with Chelsea to either Austria or the United States for pre-season training. This time, though, the player himself seems keen on wanting to try and force himself into Antonio Conte’s plans which is somewhat contrary to what he said two months ago.

Michael Hector, Matt Miazga and even Papy Djilobodji got minutes last year during pre-season, and it may finally happen for Omeruo as well this time. The probability of him becoming a first-team squad member probably remains low, but a chance is a chance.