Opinion: Chelsea can gain edge over rivals thanks to clever use of loan rule

Chelsea could benefit from their clever use of a Premier League rule that sees a number of their players on loan at fellow English top-division clubs.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek’s deadline day move to Fulham has made him the fifth Chelsea player to go out on loan to another Premier League team for this season, after Ethan Ampadu (Sheffield United), Ross Barkley (Aston Villa), Michy Batshuayi (Crystal Palace), and Conor Gallagher (West Brom).

Fierce competition at Chelsea, particularly after Frank Lampard’s summer spending spree, has forced players to seek temporary moves to gain a better chance of regular game time.

Personal development of those players aside, the loans may also work in Chelsea’s favour in another way.

At the weekend, Crystal Palace boss Roy Hodgson admitted the Eagles would have had better attacking options during the 4-0 loss to Chelsea if Batshuayi had been available.

(Photo by SHAUN BOTTERILL/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

He told Palace’s official website: “Of course we’ll have Michy Batshuayi to add to our fighting power up front but he wasn’t able to play today because he’s a Chelsea loanee.”

Since the Premier League forbids on-loan players from playing against their parent club, this will be a theme for a good chunk of Chelsea’s league fixtures this season.

Ross Barkley’s brilliant debut in Aston Villa’s remarkable 7-2 win over Liverpool also illustrates how these loans could indirectly help Chelsea gain an edge over direct competitors.

A Chelsea fan who loves football statistics. Studied sports journalism at the University of Sunderland.