Mikael Forssell: The first ever soldier in Chelsea's loan army
Once upon a time, Mikael Forssell was considered one of the most talented young strikers on earth. Chelsea certainly thought he was when they snapped up the 17-year-old Finn in 1998.
He immediately started playing in the first team. He began in a fairly impressive style, scoring 5 goals for the Blues.
It was when Chelsea signed stellar strikers Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink and Eidur Gudjohnsen that Forssell became the first young Blue to tread the path that so many have since followed.
His first loan was to Crystal Palace where he scored 16 goals in 52 appearances. He had a season at Borussia Monchengladbach, scoring 7 goals in 12 appearances.
He continued his good form on loan at Birmingham City in 2003/04. In this season, he scored 17 goals.
Now was the time for his Chelsea career to take off as he returned to the Bridge for Jose Mourinho’s first season in charge in 2004/05. However, he barely got a sniff of action. Because loans had defined his entire Chelsea career up to this point, it was all too easy to simply send him out again.
Off he went to Birmingham once again. He continued his success there and the transfer became a permanent one. After unsuccessful spells at Hannover and Leeds United, Forssell returned to his native Finland with HIFK as his once promising career fizzled out.
Forssell clearly had promise as so many academy products do. All the while, for Finland, he compiled 29 international goals.
At the first opportunity he was sent on loan. Once you leave, it is difficult to return and establish yourself at the Bridge.