Chelsea midfielder Lucas Piazon has opened up about his “complicated relationship” with Chelsea and the darker side of the club’s loan system.
Several of Frank Lampard’s first-team players including Mason Mount, Tammy Abraham, Fikayo Tomori, Reece James, Kurt Zouma and Andreas Christensen are the poster boys of Chelsea’s renowned loan system.
They left the Blues for a spell or spells outside Stamford Bridge before returning to establish themselves as first-team members.
But those players are in the minority and dozens of others have yet to make it beyond the loan system, including Piazon.
The 26-year-old joined the Blues from Sao Paulo in 2011.
In almost a decade of his Blues career, he has gone through loan stints at seven different clubs, including Malaga in La Liga, Vitesse Arnhem in the Eredivisie, Frankfurt in the Bundesliga and Reading in the Championship.
Even now he is on a two season-long loan deal with Portuguese side Rio Ave until the end of the 2020/21 season.
Piazon risked upsetting the Chelsea hierarchy as he spoke about his seemingly never-ending loan cycle in an interview.
He told Portuguese outlet Maisfutebol: “After a certain point the connection is no longer beneficial for both parties.
“At first, I felt really good. I went through the under-23s, got to the first team and, even in the first loans, I felt Chelsea had expectations and interest in me.
“I believed I could come back and have opportunities at any time.
“Later, as time passed, I became just another business for them. They send me out on loan with the expectation of selling me and making some money with me.
“I think that’s more or less what they think.”
Piazon also accused Chelsea of refusing to send him on another loan unless he agreed to pen a new deal, which he did.
“It was a complicated relationship,” he added.
“They often didn’t like what I said in the interviews but I wanted to make it clear I was very happy in my early years at Chelsea.”