New Chelsea boss Antonio Conte will be looking to make a few changes to his side in order to take the Blues back to the top four in the Premier League, and this reshuffling could see some of the club’s promising loanees given an opportunity to revive their Stamford Bridge careers.
While Antonio Conte will be looking to bring in quality players in the summer transfer window, it will be interesting to see which of the current Chelsea players he ends up retaining in his squad.
The Italian will have his pick form a large number of players, especially as Chelsea have a notoriously big contingent of on-loan players who will be returning to the club in the summer. TheHardTackle takes a look at three loanees Conte might be interested in retaining next season.
The Dutch defender has been knocking on the door for a regular place in the Chelsea lineup and might just have earned it with his stand-out performances as a loanee at Watford under the management of Quique Sanchez Flores.
His performances with the Hornets have shown that he is good enough to thrive in the physical Premier League. The 21-year-old has shown a mixture of pace and strength that makes him perfect for life in English football.
Ake is a player who can operate both as a left fullback and as a centre-back, which makes him ideal for Antonio Conte’s system. Conte often prefers to play three defenders at the back and requires fast centre-backs who are good on the ball.
With captain John Terry reportedly set to spend more time on the sidelines this season, the Blues could turn to the trio of Branislav Ivanovic, Kurt Zouma and Nathan Ake to be their back three. To add to that, Ake has shown that he can read the game well, making 3.17 interceptions per game in the Premier League, which is much more than the current Chelsea fullbacks Cesar Azpilicueta and Branislav Ivanovic.
Marco van Ginkel
After a rather disappointing spell at Stoke City, Marco van Ginkel was sent off on loan again to Dutch giants PSV Eindhoven. However, Van Ginkel showed great character to pull himself together and bounce back with good performances for the Eredivisie club.
The 23-year-old became an instant hit at PSV, starting in 13 of the remaining 17 matches in the second half of the Dutch season. Incredibly, Van Ginkel scored eight goals and provided one assist in these 13 matches playing from central midfield.
Chelsea’s midfield failed miserably last season, and Conte might me looking for some young blood in that area of the park. The Italian manager likes to play all-round midfielders who can put in a defensive shift but also contribute in attack.
Van Ginkel has proved his expertise in both areas at PSV, evidenced by his impressive goals tally as well as his record of making more than one interception per game. As he is at the age of 23, this would be the perfect time for Van Ginkel to step up in a bigger area and start cementing his place at his parent club.
Cuadrado failed to impress during his first stint at Chelsea, but might just get a second opportunity at Stamford Bridge in the coming season. The Colombia international has been on loan at Italian giants Juventus this past season, and has shown glimpses of the performances that made him a star during the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
What makes Cuadrado a perfect fit for Conte’s system is that he has played on the wings of the 3-5-2 formation that Juventus still play, even after Conte’s departure. When the team is playing a three-man defence, the wingers (at least one of them) are expected to operate as semi-fullbacks.
Cuadrado has operated in this role at Juventus, and knows exactly what it is all about. Conte, who traditionally prefers hard working players ahead of skilful ones, could prefer Cuadrado in this role ahead of the likes of Pedro Rodriguez and Oscar.
In fact, Cuadrado would allow Conte to be more flexible tactically. If the Italian needs to shift to a formation that has a back four, the Colombian could simply shift to right-back or take up a more advanced midfield position on the right wing.