Temitayo Olufisayo Olaoluwa “Ola” Aina (22), Torino - Italian Serie A
Appearances: 8+2, 763 minutes
Results: 4W, 4L, 2D
Albeit a little under the radar, Ola Aina has been doing very well at Torino this season. His versatility has been a key asset, with Walter Mazzarri selecting him (almost) every week, on flank or the other as a wing-back. According to this report by Goal, Torino have been keen on paying up the £7m that’s required to make his loan deal a permanent one. It smacks of irony a little, that Chelsea are currently looking to offload Davide Zappacosta, who was signed from Torino in 2017, while one of their youngsters is flourishing at the very same club.
Ola Aina making waves in the Serie A— Soar Super Eagles (@SoarSuperEagles) January 14, 2019
Africa's best wing-back? pic.twitter.com/wJJ1vB3dGQ
Tiémoué Bakayoko (24), AC Milan - Italian Serie A
Appearances: 15, 1366 minutes
Results: 6W, 3L, 6D
A sending-off against Bologna in December is the only blemish on what’s been an incredible resurgence for the once-disgruntled midfielder. He’s shown commendable resilience to evolve into an indispensable midfield option for AC Milan after the season he had at Chelsea, coupled with a messy start to life in Italy. Even Gennaro Gattuso, his manager who didn’t mince words when he was displeased with the on-loan midfielder’s performances early on, has lauded how far Bakayoko has come since then.
‘I think he’s an atypical deep-lying midfielder in modern football’
‘He can turn the moves from defensive to attacking, he takes men on and always gets past them.
‘He has learned so much about transitions, as at the start he got it wrong most of the time, but today he can do diagonal runs and close off the passing channels. He is a very important player for us.’
- Gennaro Gattuso; source: football-italia.net
Like Aina, it’s appearing increasingly likely that Bakayoko’s loan club will exercise the clause to buy him at the end of the spell.
Mario Pašalić (23), Atalanta - Italian Serie A
Appearances: 4+4, 675 minutes
Results: 5W, 1L, 2D
Goals + Assists: 1 + 3
Pasalic has been among the minutes at Atalanta, nicking the odd goal but is yet to establish the level of importance say, Bakayoko, has to AC Milan. One might even go so far as to say it’s been a recurring theme in all four of his loan spells as a Chelsea player. However, he’s had a highly productive last month, scoring once - an injury-time goal within seconds of coming on against Cagliari in Coppa Italia - and registering three assists whilst also starting all of Atalanta’s league games in that time-frame so perhaps it’s an indication that he’s turning a corner.
Michy Batshuayi-Atunga (25), Valencia CF - La Liga
Appearances: 2+5, 234 minutes
Results: 2W, 4L, 1D
An archetypal ‘loan-gone-wrong’ situation for Batshuayi, which is so unfortunate to see considering how well he was doing at Borussia Dortmund last season. It goes to show that being on the loan carousel is not easy for players; being thrust into different clubs, circumstances, squads, cities and sometimes countries in a relatively short span of time doesn’t always have desirable outcomes.
A loan to Monaco was on the cards before Thierry Henry was sacked but now, Michy is being linked to West Ham United.
Jake-Liam Clarke-Salter (21), Vitesse Arnhem - Eredivisie
Appearances: 6+1, 546 minutes
Results: 4W, 2L, 1D
Eduardo dos Reis Carvalho (36), Vitesse Arnhem - Eredivisie
Appearances: 10, 900 minutes
Results: 5W, 3L, 2D
Clarke-Salter and Eduardo, save for a foot injury to the former, have been ever-present in the Vitesse starting XI. Both have performed well this season, as Vitesse sit in 5th place and look like they could finally make the top four this time around. The very reasons for Eduardo to still be on Chelsea’s books are as ambiguous as ever but this season is proving very beneficial for Clarke-Salter, who had a terrible six months at Sunderland - no, he didn’t feature on Sunderland Till I Die - but can look to push on to another European side next season if he continues in the same vein, much like Matt Miazga before him. Both, Eduardo and Clarke-Salter have even picked up an assist each. The center-back’s pass to Martin Odegaard against Kozakken Boys was finished from distance in some fashion, while Eduardo’s enormous lob against Fortuna Sittard was finished off by Bryan Linssen. In the same match, however, Eduardo’s attempt to pass out of the penalty area in injury time went terribly awry. The errant ball was intercepted near the touchline by Finn Stokkers, who fired into an empty goal to give Sittard the win. Yikes.
Bekanty Victorien Angban (22), FC Metz - Ligue 2
Appearances: 7, 551 minutes
Results: 5W, 0L, 2D
Deployed on the right or left side of a three-man midfield, Angban has been a mainstay in the side for the Ligue 2 leaders and hasn’t been sent off yet, so that’s a very good sign.
Kylian Hazard (23), Cercle Brugge - Belgian Pro League A
Appearances: 5+3, 455 minutes
Results: 3W, 4L, 1D
Like Eden, Kylian has mostly played as a left-sided attacker for Cercle, who are a mid-table side in the Belgian top flight and also happen to be a feeder club for AS Monaco. His second of two goals scored so far, came in December as his team upset Anderlecht 2-1.
Kyle Michael Scott (21), formerly SC Telstar - Eerste Divisie
Appearances: 3 + 1, 265 minutes
Results: 2W, 1L, 1D
Scott started for the Dutch second division outfit more often than not but his six-month loan deal was not extended and he’s now back at Cobham. He made 14 league appearances, 12 of them coming from the start and scored two goals in his time during his time in the port city of IJmuiden.
Sheik Mohamed Fankaty Dabo (23), Sparta Rotterdam - Eerste Divisie
Appearances: 3, 211 minutes
Dabo started most games for Vitesse under Henk Fraser, who also happened to be his manager back then so to no surprise, he’s usually started for fourth-placed Sparta when fit but missed the month preceding winter break due to an injury. He started both matches post-break but sat the most recent one out injured as well.
Kenneth Josiah Omeruo (25), CD Leganes - La Liga
Appearances: 11, 990 minutes
Results: 4W, 2L, 5D
I’m glad for Kenneth Omeruo. Fresh from a loan at ADO Den Haag in the Eredivisie, he showed immense promise in the 2014 World Cup but made some questionable decisions regarding loans in the following four seasons, which were all spent in middling Turkish Super Lig clubs. Clearly, he was a player who deserved to play at a higher level but he’s now found that move and is a key part of a plucky Leganes team who’ve had some decent results of late but are still very much in danger of relegation. This should prove to be a platform for him to finally secure a permanent move to a European team playing in a league of good stature.
Danilo Pantić (22), Partizan Beograd - Serbian SuperLiga
Appearances: 5 + 1, 427 minutes
Results: 4W, 2D, 0L
Who knew that Pantic would finally find success at the club he left to sign for Chelsea, three-and-a-half years ago? A regular attacking thread from the left-wing, Pantic has been crucial to Partizan’s campaign, even captaining them on four occasions. They currently sit in third place, six points off second and five clear of fourth. Chelsea didn’t want Pantic to return to Partizan for a second loan spell last summer but the player was adamant on it and could return to his boyhood club permanently for a sum of 3 million euros. However, this sum is said to be too expensive for Partizan and will leave Pantic in some sort of limbo. With his contract running till the summer of 2021, he may even go on another loan spell yet.
Pantic’s last two goals came in a 6-0 rout of Dinamo Vranje.
Joao Leandro Rodríguez González (22), CD Tenerife - La Liga 2
Appearances: 1 + 6, 228 minutes
Results: 2W, 3D, 2L
Rodriguez has been used as an impact sub for Tenerife and most notably scored in the dying minutes of the game to salvage a 1-1 draw versus Granada.
Josimar Aldair Quintero (21), Lleida Esportiu - Segunda Division B - Grupo III
Appearances: 1 + 3, 128 minutes
Results: 0W, 2D, 2L
Josi Quintero’s seen more involvement in recent weeks than he did at the start of the season but being a bit-part player for a Spanish Third Division team is still not a great place to be in.
Ruben Sammut (21), formerly Falkirk - Scottish Championship
Appearances: 5, 353 minutes
Results: 1W, 2L, 2D
Like Kyle Scott at Telstar, Sammut was involved for Falkirk more often than not but hasn’t seen his loan extended beyond the initial six months.
Jared Kyle Thompson (19), Warrenpoint Town - Northern Irish Premiership
Appearances: 3, 270 minutes
Clean Sheets: 2
Jared Thompson has made the move to Northern Ireland after a curious six months of lull, given he had performed well in his previous loan spell at Chippenham Town. Nevertheless, he’s been off to a decent start at his new loan club.
Finally, a few words on players who’ve barely played any minutes.
Nathan (22) is still at Atletico Mineiro, despite a few recall rumors, but it’s the offseason in Brazil, so he’s just training and waiting for the new season to start — hopefully it will go better than his time so far back in his motherland.
Matt Miazga (23) and Baba Rahman (24) were recalled from their loans at Nantes and Schalke respectively and were re-assigned to Reading and Stade de Reims.
Charly Musonda (22), in theory at Vitesse Arnhem, is still recovering from a knee problem at Cobham. He’s expected back in action around March.
Christian Pulisic (20) has just made the one (substitute) appearance for Dortmund since becoming a Chelsea player.