Chelsea to confirm first January transfer, potentially boosting Pochettino’s team 

Chelsea to confirm first January transfer, potentially boosting Pochettino’s team

A lot of Chelsea’s business in the past 12 months can be put into the ‘jury’s out’ category. There are very few certain success stories. Enzo Fernandez looks good but still divides opinion on how he dominates and impacts games. His price tag doesn’t help.

Moises Caicedo has been largely solid enough and tends to go under the radar – perhaps as he should do at times – but isn’t and probably will never fulfil the £115million price tag simply due to how modern football truly values players. Nicolas Jackson is a relative bargain for £30million but still isn’t rated in wider circles despite a promising first six months in England.

The list goes on. Robert Sanchez has been okay but nothing more, same with Axel Disasi and couldn’t Trevoh Chalobah have been better? Mykhailo Mudryk is a whole other can of worms but there’s something there to work with at least. The only one that has really hit the ground running and created a fuss is Cole Palmer.

If most of these are splitting opinion and remain in need of more evidence before a final verdict then the same cannot be said of Chelsea’s much forgotten but very important international loan spots. Of the seven that are currently out – all in Europe – it is debatable whether any of them have actually been worth it.

Diego Moreira has pulled up no trees in a shocking Lyon side, Kepa Arrizabalaga has been replaced as Real Madrid’s second choice goalkeeper, Gabriel Slonina is not having fun in Belgium, David Datro Fofana may well have his deal cancelled halfway through after a falling out and managerial change in Germany.

Romelu Lukaku is scoring goals in Rome but is just taking up a slot really, he has no future at Stamford Bridge and simply can’t be shifted. Angelo Gabriel is doing alright at RC Strasbourg, to be fair, but that’s about the limit. Then there’s Hakim Ziyech.

One year ago the winger was close to a loan move to Paris Saint-Germain on deadline day. He was waiting in France for the deal to be completed but was left out of the loop whilst efforts to sign Enzo Fernandez took priority. He started just three days later against Fulham despite, we assume, wanting nothing more to do with the club after another failure to get what’s best for him.

Now, after half a year in Galatasaray, where he was welcomed like a king, his time could be up again. With still 18 months left on his contract at Chelsea he could be put back into footballing purgatory.

It is reported that Ziyech’s loan could be terminated having played just 14 times in all competitions. His only two goals in the Champions League both came courtesy of Andre Onana’s large helping hand whilst six starts in nine domestically is hardly too impressive. He has also struggled with injury, a continuation of issues that cost him a permanent move to the Saudi Pro League last summer.

For Chelsea it has been wasteful on more than one count. Not only could it cost them any chance of seeing him generate a transfer fee from Turkey but it also leaves them with yet more to deal with in January when there is already more pressing matters. Looking forward and it has also taken up a chance abroad that could have been given to countless other young players in need of experience.

Now in January there is a chance to have a quick loan shuffle at Chelsea. Ziyech’s return would open up a foreign slot that could be used for the potential ending of Andrey Santos’ own failed loan at Nottingham Forest. It is expected that he will come back to Stamford Bridge and may well depart again on loan somewhere else.

That would possibly be limited to the Championship if an international spot isn’t available as he hasn’t been able to prove his worth in England’s top flight yet. Ziyech’s future would also have to be solved. That could come via contract termination – Chelsea have shown willingness to do this – a possible mid-season sale, though where suitors would come from is not clear, or yet another loan.

In that case Ziyech may well take up his own foreign spot. The more beneficial thing for Chelsea to do, really, is to have a promising player in need of senior game time heading out though, not a 30-year-old. Deivid Washington may well be after more minutes whilst academy players Alfie Gilchrist, Alex Matos and Leo Castledine are all pushing for senior involvement. Any of these would get more from a loan than Ziyech at this stage.

This could also open up the chance of more loans being cut short if they aren’t going to plan. Ideally Chelsea would have simply found better and more successful loan deals to start with but now there is a bit of a mess to clear up, starting with Ziyech.

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