Chelsea may be placing greater emphasis on youth integration this season, but that may have come a bit too late for one Lewis Baker, who looked like the next big thing out of the Academy just a few years ago. But after loans to six different teams in the last five years, he looks no closer to the first-team than when José Mourinho put him on for three minutes at the end of an FA Cup third round game in 2014.
The now 24-year-old midfielder split time between Leeds United and Reading in the Championship last season. Royals fans were hoping that he would come back for this season as well, but it appears that he’s making the jump to Germany instead, after spending the first few days of preseason with Lampard and the first-team in Dublin.
According to multiple reports, he’s closing in on a loan move to Fortuna Düsseldorf, who are looking to cover for Kevin Stöger’s second ACL tear in three years. Baker is apparently already in Düsseldorf and has observed the team both in training and during their friendly 1-1 draw against İstanbul Başakşehir on Saturday. Meanwhile, Fortuna sporting director Lutz Pfannenstiel has reportedly flown to London to wrap up the details.
Fortuna finished 10th last season in the Bundesliga and recently acquired the best American goalkeeper, Zach Steffen, on loan from Manchester City.
Baker has three years left on his Chelsea contract, and the loan move is not expected to include a buy-option.