The Chelsea men’s team may not have a manager yet, but it does have players and those players need to get ready for the season.
Those preparations were supposed to start yesterday (Monday), as they have for a number of teams around the Premier League including Liverpool and Arsenal, the latter of whom are the only other side in the top six who will have a new manager. But Chelsea don’t technically have a new manager just yet, so preparations won’t start until next Monday, July 9.
Nevertheless, Cobham has begun to stir to life, and not just because John Terry, Ethan Ampadu and Karen Carney were training. No, this week is when the youth and all the loanees report back. For the kids, the first order of business is administrative, like pictures.
Starting the 2018-19 season with academy head shots. pic.twitter.com/Sxy2Dt2qkD— Chelsea Youth (@chelseayouth) July 2, 2018
For the older players, there’s already more at stake.
Normally, they would have the full attention of the manager (with many first-team seniors usually on extended vacation due to national team commitments), to give them once over before the loan hammer falls again. Over the last couple years, several loanees got themselves a spot in the squad via this route, including Victor Moses, Nathaniel Chalobah, and Andreas Christensen.
This year’s unorthodox approach to changing managers has thrown all of that into flux. But the players have to show-up anyway. The loan army numbered in the 30s last year; most will re-join it, but some might have other fates in store for them.
Kenedy and Charlie Colkett are both back already, for example, as confirmed in their latest Instagram stories. Neither may stay too long, with the former possibly (probably?) heading back to Newcastle and the latter likely to head out on assignment to finish rehabbing the injury that robbed him of the second-half of the season at Vitesse.
Other loanee standouts might have futures closer to home. Kurt Zouma, Tammy Abraham, Jeremie Boga, Charly Musonda may be in with a real shout for the first-team — or how about Captain Matt Miazgamerica? — though having a manager for the first-team in the first place may be helpful in that regard. Youngsters like Mason Mount or Ike Ugbo may have to be content with a temporary move, while some not so young, like Lucas Piazon, Tomas Kalas, Todd Kane, Marco “injured again” van Ginkel, Mario Pasalic, or Michael Hector might finally get to move on to a more location-stable career.
Oliver Harbord of Football.London has a selected list of loan-returnees to keep an eye on, which makes for a pretty good, if not quite complete refresher.
A look at some of last season's Chelsea loanees returning to pre-season and what their future might hold for the upcoming campaign. https://t.co/fYfihoMkRv— Oliver Harbord (@ojharbord) July 2, 2018
There are only so many spots to go around in the squad, so there are bound to be disappointments and upsetting developments (and that’s before we even consider the futures of Ruben Loftus-Cheek or Ethan Ampadu or Callum Hudson-Odoi). On the other hand, perhaps the shortened transfer window and Chelsea dropping the ball once again in said window will lead to a better chance for some of these players to stick around the club next season?
It’s not just the men who are gearing up to return, by the way. The best women’s team in the all the land is also ready to head back in, led by FWA Women’s Player of the Year Fran Kirby.