What does Ian Maatsen’s loan mean for Chelsea left-backs?
Ian Maatsen is officially on loan for the current season, but where does that leave Chelsea left-backs for the year?
As the national window and other various deadlines draw to a close, the depth of Chelsea’s first team is dwindling hour by hour. The Blues have already sent plenty of players on loan and sold a handful more, but there are still plenty of names on Frank Lampard’s roster.
Left-back Ian Maatsen is one of the names that won’t feature for Chelsea at any level this season. Maatsen made his Coupe de la Ligue debut for the Blues last season and the 18-year-old is widely regarded as the future from the left-back post at Stamford Bridge. Maatsen will run the 2020/21 campaign on loan to Charlton Athletic and therefore, he will not play first team football in SW6. The possibilities surrounding the left-back position now see another option barred, so what does this season hold for players behind Ben Chilwell?
As it stands, Emerson and Marcos Alonso, despite his row with Frank Lampard– stay with the first team. It was believed that every player was leaving, at least on loan, for the coming season. However, deals to send the two back to Italy were broken in the dying moments of the window. Thus, the two acquisitions of Antonio Conte will remain in place until at least January, except for unforeseen change of events.
Maatsen is considered one of the next rising stars in the Blues academy. After Lampard handed the teenager his pro debut last season, it was believed he would find himself integrated into the first team over time, perhaps even getting a few more points this season. As Chelsea failed to find a suit for one of their experienced full-backs, it was important for the club to send the Dutchman’s services elsewhere in order to gain the necessary first-team experience. The move to the newly relegated League One side is the 18-year-old’s first loan during his young career with the Blues.
Without Maatsen for the next 12 months, it is now vital that the Blues hang on to one of their veterans for the duration of the season. Cesar Azpilicueta is quite capable of covering the left-back, but with his tasks shared on either side of the back line, Chelsea would stretch their skipper by asking him to cover each side for most of the year. Azpilicueta is likely to see less time than before on the right due to the emergence of Reece James, but that doesn’t mean the Spaniard can back both James and Chilwell. Chilwell missed more than 20 games Over the past four years, therefore, the Blues have to dedicate another player to back the new £ 50million man.
Now it is a question of which player will leave the club in January. Neither Alonso nor Emerson will be sold at this point, so the winter window seems the most likely. Alonso appears to have been on the wrong side of the gaffer, behaving unprofessionally on and off the pitch. On the flip side, Emerson has been surprised a few times but has also proven himself, playing both left and right wing against Barnsley. However, the 26-year-old will likely make more money when the transfer door opens again on January 1.
Regardless of who Lampard and the board choose to keep, Maatsen’s departure ensures Chelsea’s career will be extended for another five to six months. A crowded game list plagues the squad over the next few weeks and it will undoubtedly give Lampard time to think about his two left-back options.
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