Earlier this week, highly promising Charly Musonda Jr. and his older brother Lamisha made public their frustrations with Chelsea regarding playing time and opportunities, which, while possibly valid, were rather oddly timed — can’t fix that in the middle of an international break and well out of transfer season! While apparently Charly claims that the comments were not aimed at Chelsea, the follow-up comments from Lamisha made it quite clear that they were.
The rant also seemed premature, given that Charly Jr, ostensibly the fifth-choice attacking midfielder, has already made three appearances, including his first ever start, in the first eleven games of the season and looked set to continue gaining minutes in the League Cup. Of all the unproven youngsters in the first-team squad, Charly Jr already had the most minutes. Sure, he would undoubtedly want more, but surely he knew what to expect when he decided to stay...
Musonda has since neutered that Instagram post, deleting the words but leaving the picture (err... black square), but the damage has most certainly been done. Rumors of a fine briefly popped up in the Mirror, but a much more likely outcome, as reported by the Evening Standard and others, is that Charly will be sent out on loan in January. The Standard does report that Charly has been “reprimanded” but does not elaborate on what that actually entailed.
Meanwhile, any progress in contract negotiations has probably been rolled back — his contract expires in 2019, which means that by the summer, he could become the next youngster to jump off the gravy train.
Chelsea will point to the successes of Thibaut Courtois, Andreas Christensen, and perhaps even Victor Moses that the loan system is working exactly as intended. Courtois and Christensen certainly provide role models for the ideal outcome, spending multiple years at the same team on loan — thus establishing themselves at their temporary homes — and then returning to a first-team squad spot at Chelsea. It should be noted that the years those two spent away from the club weren’t always controversy free (Courtois always linked with a move back to Spain and Christensen made it clear that he was done with loans after his Gladbach stint), but they still represent that best outcomes for Chelsea’s youth/loan policy.
While training with a world-class manager like Antonio Conte can also help players further their development, there is no substitute for actual playing time against proper opposition.
There is still time to salvage the Musonda situation — a new contract and a long-term loan (two+ seasons?) is probably the best for all involved — but it will need cooler heads to prevail.