Chelsea sent not one, not two, but the maximum complement of three loan players to Hull City this summer, with youngsters Harvey Vale and Xavier Simons joining returning loanee Nathan Baxter.
And the Tigers, under then manager Shota Arveladze, made a good start to the season, with two wins and two draws in their first four games — including a creditable 1-1 draw away to current Championship leaders Burnley. But then things took a sudden turn for the worse. They lost 8 of their next 10, and Arveladze lost his job. His replacement, former Hull City player Liam Rosenior hasn’t fared all that much better, and they find themselves just two points above the relegation zone as we speak.
That’s not exactly a great place to be to give out minutes to promising young players. Vale has played a grand total of 76 minutes across two appearances (one in September, one last week) and Simons has played just 8 in his lone appearance back in October. And while Baxter has had a good run in the team after winning his place from previous first-choice goalkeeper Matt Ingram once again, a recent ankle injury has knocked him back down the pecking order.
Rosenior recently admitted that they will be having conversations with Chelsea about the trio, and especially about the two 19-year-olds who are in desperate need of actual minutes.
“They’ve both made an excellent impression on me. Harvey’s got some outstanding abilities and is a really good athlete, Xavi’s got everything in a midfield player that I like and he’s going to be a great player in the long-term.
“It’s taking time for me to get to know the players, to get to know the team and how we can win games in the short-term [...] I’ve had a conversation with Chelsea about those two and Nathan, as well, and we’ve decided that come the last week in December, first week in January we’ll have another conversation on that.”
-Liam Rosenior; source: Hull Live
One would expect that both Vale and Simons would be heading back to Chelsea in January, with a view towards finding a different loan club for them — especially with the Tigers looking to trim their squad.
Baxter’s future is a bit more complicated, with Hull also having a buy-option in his contract. The 24-year-old has proven himself repeatedly and at every level he’s played, so I’m selfishly hoping that Hull do pass on him and he can come back to fulfill his Chelsea destiny.