Chelsea youngster Jeremie Boga had a rather surprising start to his third professional season. With Pedro and Eden Hazard unavailable for our first match of the season, the 21-year-old was picked to make his debut by starting next to Willian and Michy Batshuayi.
His first appearance for Chelsea’s first team ended abruptly however when Gary Cahill got a red card 18 minutes into the game. Boga was sacrificed for the captain’s mistake, making way for fellow youngster Andreas Christensen to restore defensive order. The change unfortunately didn't pay dividends as Chelsea went on to lose to Burnley, 3-2, in the first sign that something may be a bit off this season. Two weeks later, Boga was also off, joining Championship side Birmingham on a season-long loan deal.
Boga did well for himself in the third loan stint of his career. He finished the season with 34 appearances, 2 goals and 3 assists in 2,092 minutes of playing time while helping Birmingham stay in England’s second-level league with a 19th-place finish. It was also an opportunity for him to develop some of his mental and physical attributes.
“The goal has been achieved, we managed to save ourselves. We had ups and downs. I only remember the positives. I still managed to play 34 games, so I’m happy.”
“It is certain that I progressed, on the mental and physical aspect in particular because it was complicated. We played a long time down the board and we had to be strong mentally, and suddenly it allowed me to progress.”
“There is a lot of intensity in Championship, you can beat everyone, it’s a very open championship. Compared to Ligue 1, it’s much more physical, stronger in intensity.”
Despite that success, or precisely because of it, he is not too keen on staying in Chelsea’s loan army. Like some players before him such as Bertrand Traoré and Nathaniel Chalobah, he wants to either stay at the club and fight for a first team spot or outright leave the club for good. Another loan is not an option for him
“I have clear ideas for my future. This is my third season on loan. I have a lot of experience at the end of the season and I feel ready for next year either to fight to try to impose myself at Chelsea or to leave the club. I do not really want another loan”
“Of course I would like to have guarantees. This year, I had the chance to make the first league match with Chelsea in the Premier League. So we never know, if I have good discussions with them, that everything is going well, that the coach’s speech suits me, I do not close the door to staying at Chelsea.”
-Jeremie Boga; source: Foot Mercato via Google Translate
This a natural spot that most if not all loanees reach eventually. Some, like Courtois and Christensen make.the step to the first-team, some eventually sign a new contract and go on loan (Moses for many years, for example), and some end up leaving permanently (Chalobah, for example).
Basically, it's decision-time Boga and Chelsea.