The Chelsea loan army is starting to box the compass. In the beginning there was Cobham. Then we had Cobham East, aka Vitesse Arnhem. Now it looks very much that we are on our way to adding Cobham North, courtesy of Frank Lampard and Derby County.
The first man to migrate to the banks of River Derwent was U18 head coach Jody Morris, where he’s now the assistant coach. Morris was swiftly followed by Chris Jones, who was a fitness coach and is now head of performance (while also helping out back at Chelsea, temporarily, until that coaching situation is sorted).
It was expected that Lamps would try to tap into Chelsea’s rich youth program as he rebuilds the Rams on a tight budget, and that’s what seems to be happening. Three days ago news surfaced that Derby would like to tempt Tammy Abraham back down to The Championship to become their striker.
And now another youthful name is surfacing in Kasey Palmer, who is no stranger to Pride Park. He spent the second half of last season on loan there, but struggled for playing time, ultimately netting two goals in just two starts and sixteen overall appearances. Frank Lampard reportedly wants him and Derby have been given permission to negotiate with him, according to a report from the Derby Telegraph. Right now it’s not clear whether it would be a loan or a sale.
Palmer’s path to a starting job is no longer blocked, and that might be reason behind him going back to Derby. The obstruction was 21-goal man Matej Vydra, who was a bad fit with Palmer for former head coach Gary Rowett. But with Rowett gone and Derby expected to cash in on Vydra to the tune of £11 million from Leeds United, apparently playing time has opened up for the creative midfielder.
And the youngster is in dire need of a shot of playing time and confidence. After helping Huddersfield to Premier League promotion two seasons ago, last term for the Terriers he missed 10 games with a hamstring and never could force his way back into contention. That’s why Chelsea moved him to Derby in January. Unfortunately, that didn’t work out much better.
But with Lampard intent on an attacking style of play, maybe a return is the move that’s best for Palmer, who’s reaching a make-or-break time in his career with Chelsea. Sheffield United and Norwich City are also said to be interested in him, the latter keen on acquiring him permanently. But it could that he decides his comfort zone is in helping to shape up Cobham North.