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Official: Lewis Baker joins Middlesbrough on loan for the season

Young Chelsea midfielder Lewis Baker has joined Middlesbrough on a season-long loan, after signing a new five-year-deal at Chelsea.

The midfielder expressed his excitement upon signing for Boro, and outlined his aims for the upcoming season.

“It’s going to be an exciting season, there are a lot of games in the Championship.”

“I’m here to give my input and hopefully get the club back to the Premier League. Hopefully we can do that together.”

“This opportunity arose and I thought it would be a great one for me.

“I think in this game there is always high pressure and big things expected.

“I see this as a great opportunity for me to come here and show what I can do.

“I already know what the Championship is about. I’m going to give it my all and hopefully we get back to where we should be.”

- Lewis Baker; Middlesbrough FC

The 22-year-old spent the last two seasons at Chelsea's unofficial affiliates in the Netherlands, Vitesse Arnhem and was a mainstay in their starting XI, proving to be a consistent goalscoring threat from midfield and creating chances via his proficiency at set pieces. Baker was well-loved by Vitesse fans during his time in Arnhem, and helped them to the Dutch Cup, their first ever major trophy, whilst establishing himself among the best young midfielders in the league. After collecting two seasons worth of senior experience, it was expected that Baker would continue his progress back at Chelsea and hopefully have a chance to impress with the first-team, especially given the lack of numbers in midfield at the club.

However, in hindsight the plan seems to have always been to farm him out to another club once again. Since the beginning of the summer, Baker has been linked with loan moves to Premier League sides such as Southampton and Swansea, although those whispers quickly died down. He was said to have traveled and trained with the first-team for the duration of their pre-season tours in light of the ongoing midfield depth crisis, but strangely enough, never played in midfield during his minimal cameos. Antonio Conte preferred to use him as an inside forward, another position that lacked depth, which indicated that the youngster never really was seriously in the reckoning for a first-team place this season.

Baker will now be a part of a strong Middlesbrough squad, who are widely backed to be promoted back to the Premier League this season under former Swansea and Leeds United manager Garry Monk. There were growing whispers that Baker would be joining fellow promotion contenders Readin instead but the recent sale of Marten De Roon has opened up a vacancy in the Middlesbrough midfield. Baker is also a different option from any of Boro's existing central midfielders: Jonny Howson, Adam Forshaw, Adam Clayton and Adlene Guedioura. The move was reported as a two-year loan by multiple outlets, however like Andreas Christensen’s initial loan announcement to Borussia Monchengladbach in the summer of 2015, it has been announced as a season-long loan. One may presume, therefore, that the clubs have some sort of provision in place for a second year on loan if Middlesbrough are promoted, as Baker ideally shouldn’t be spending more than a season in the Championship.

Hopefully, he'll help propel his club straight back up to the Premier League.

Good luck, Lewis!

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