A lot of the time, many loan deals go under the radar, but when it involves a Chelsea player, it’s hard to ignore it.
After all, few clubs have shipped out as many players, youngsters and established veterans alike, on temporary deals around the world as the Blues, and quite a lot of people are starting to ask questions about it.
Talented footballers like Nathaniel Chalobah have since taken the decision to leave the club permanently in order to avoid yet another loan deal, while others are just stuck in the system, unable to find a way out.
Back in July, Dr Paul Widdop of Leeds Beckett University and Dr Dan Parnell of Manchester Metropolitan University took a look at the destinations of a lot of these Chelsea loanees, producing an ‘ego network’ graph, which can be found here on the Training Ground Guru website.
This research, which showed that 87 different clubs have benefitted from these temporary deals, largely went under the radar, but De Telegraaf in Netherlands managed to find it and spin it in their favour.
After all, eight clubs in Holland have accommodated Chelsea loanees over the past five seasons, and none have been helped more than Vitesse Arnhem, who, in that period, have welcomed 17 different players from Stamford Bridge.
As one of their feeder clubs, this is understandable, and there is no denying the Eredivisie side have benefitted massively from this influx of talented youngsters.
All you have to do is look at the change in their league rankings since the loans started flooding in (around 2010-11).
In the seven seasons prior, their highest finish was 7th in 2004-05, otherwise finishing 16th in 2003-04, and 11th, 12th, 12th, 10th, and 14th in the campaigns following that odd top 10 anomaly.
Following the first batch of Chelsea players (which included a certain Nemanja Matic), things changed pretty drastically.
Coming 15th that year, Vitesse then shot up the table to 7th in 2011-12, and have only ended a season outside the top six since (ninth in 2015-16).
But what about the players?
Omitting the three that are currently on loan there (Charlie Colkett, Fankaty Dabo an Mason Mount), that leaves 14 to look at.
Out of those, six have left the club permanently, but none did so off the back of their Vitesse loan.
It took a good spell at Ajax for Bertrand Traoré to get an astute move to Lyon, Patrick Van Aanholt is now a Premier League regular these days at Crystal Palace (via Sunderland), while Christian Atsu has managed to make a name for himself at Newcastle.
Those are the success stories.
Josh McEachran, once hyped as the ‘next Frank Lampard’, is now at Brentford, leaving Chelsea for less than £1m, which is a similar fate to Sam Hutchinson, currently at Sheffield Wednesday.
As for Gaël Kakuta, well, let’s just say his move to China hasn’t exactly gone to plan, and he’s somehow wiggled his way back into France, with Amiens willing to take a (so far successful) gamble on him.
Loans: Tomas Kalas (24) and Lucas Piazon (23) -> Fulham, Cristian Cuevas (22) -> FC Twente, Danilo Pantic (20) -> Partizan Belgrade, Matt Miazga (22) -> back at Vitesse Arnhem, Nathan (21) -> at Amiens with Kakuta, and Lewis Baker (22) -> Middlesbrough.
The last one? It’s Wallace, who, at 23, isn’t in Chelsea’s Premier League squad, seemingly spending the season with the reserves.
These were all talented footballers in their home countries, brought to Stamford Bridge at a young age, probably with the promise of first-team football down the line.
None have managed it.
So who is the true winner in all of this? The players certainly aren’t. Chelsea? Maybe, if they can get a profit down the line.
That only leaves Vitesse.