Several Chelsea Academy players will be (re-)joining the Loan Army during the January transfer window, but one of those will not be Alfie Gilchrist, at least for now, as per a report from the Evening Standard.
Chelsea have made him “unavailable for loan for the time being” due to his impressive cameos off the bench for the first-team and due to our continuing injury crisis in multiple positions, including at right back. Gilchrist is a center back by trade, but he’s deputised capably on the right side as well — and Reece James will not be back from his hamstring surgery until the tail end of the season at the earliest.
(Ed.note: on a more cynical note, Gilchrist does only have 18 months left on his contract, which would make a loan less likely as well, even with the club-option for an additional year, without a new long-term deal.)
Gilchrist has appeared in five straight games in all competitions, including a first senior start in the FA Cup, in our 4-0 win over Preston North End. He made crucial defensive plays in the dying minutes of our one-goal victories over Crystal Palace, Luton Town, and Fulham. It’s understandable why there may be loan-interest in him, but also understandable why we’d want to keep him around — as long as he gets minutes!
The report adds that Lucas Bergström, Dylan Williams and Zak Sturge are available for loan, with Bergström possibly looking for a permanent move, even.