Baba Rahman, recalled from his loan (and injury) purgatory at Schalke 04, will now see out the remainder of the season with Stade de Reims. It’s a straight-up loan move without an option to make the move permanent.
He arrives at the midtable Ligue 1 side to deputize for injured left back Ghislain Konan and will be hoping to get back in the Ghana national team frame ahead of this summer’s Africa Cup of Nations (in which competition he suffered that devastating knee injury now almost exactly two years ago). Above all, all parties involved just want to see him playing regularly again at long last.
After his debut season at the Bridge failed to impress, Baba was sent out of loan in the summer of 2016, joining Schalke for the season and playing regularly until the aforementioned ACL injury happened. He missed all of 2017 in recovery but Schalke were happy to have him back last January on a 1.5-year loan, willing to supervise his final recovery and rehab and subsequent playing time. He made his return from injury in Schalke’s last game of the 2017-18 season, playing 33 minutes off the bench against Eintracht Frankfurt. This was later than initially estimated but things were still largely going to plan: he would spend a full pre-season with Schalke and pick up where he left off before he got injured.
However, after only three starts in the new season, Baba was relegated to third-choice left-back and didn’t make another appearance until December when an injury crisis meant that he started against Lokomotiv Moscow in a meaningless Champions League group match with Schalke already confirmed for a second place finish. He hadn’t made an appearance since, not even on the bench.
Recovery from an ACL injury is never easy, even if it doesn’t automatically mean the end of a career as it once used to. It’s essential that the player gets enough minutes to reach his former level. Hopefully Baba, who has 1.5 years left on his Chelsea contract, will get just that at Reims, and get his career back on track.