Since being retained in the Chelsea first-team squad for the second consecutive season — he made 7 appearances under Antonio Conte last season — Ethan Ampadu has been granted exactly zero senior team appearances. The 18-year-old featured extensively in preseason, but it’s become clear that Maurizio Sarri doesn’t see a role for him, not even in the cup team.
Missing a month with an injury he picked up in his last international outing for Wales (for whom he has been impressive in earning five caps) hasn’t helped, but it makes sense that instead of letting him waste a year in the reserves, he should get some serious football under his belt in the second half of the season.
And serious it would be, if Chelsea do let him go. Chelsea did rebuff Cardiff City in the summer, much to Neil Warnock’s chagrin.
For the past few weeks, both Frank Lampard’s Derby County (mandatory new name for the club) and (John Terry’s) Aston Villa have been widely reported to be interested in Ampadu’s services. Both championship clubs have aspirations for promotion, so if Ampadu were able to fight his way into either team (as a defensive midfielder or a centre back) he would be thrust into a pressure-cooker of expectations. According to Goal’s Chelsea correspondent, Nizaar Kinsella, a loan move to either “could” be on the cards.
Ampadu would also join fellow Chelsea loanees at either club — Tammy Abraham at Villa, or Fikayo Tomori and Mason Mount at Frank Lampard’s Derby County. English Football League rules allow for up to four loan players from any one club, as long as two of them are under 23.
Ampadu signed a new five-year deal with Chelsea soon after turning 18 in September, so he’s tied to the club until 2023. A loan would seem to be an obvious and healthy move both for him personally, and for Chelsea, who need to develop him.