Chelsea face having to sell around 30 players in the next 18 months after it was revealed that FIFA’s plans to drastically cut the number of loans could come into force for the 2020-21 season.
According to The Times, “FIFA’s proposals to reduce the number of players that clubs can send out on loan have been ratified. World football’s governing body has told clubs that it will introduce the new limit from the start of the 2020-21 season.”
The paper says the maximum number of players out on loan will be capped at between six and eight – posing a problem for those clubs stockpiling talent and farming them at an industrial rate.
Chelsea are known for utilising the system and currently have no less than 39 players out on loan at other clubs.
Either the Premier League club sell off scores of players or they will be left with an unworkably large squad for the season after next.
Restrictions on club partnerships
Mason Mount of Vitesse Arnhem reatcs to a missed chance on goal
Image credit: Getty Images
In addition, The Times reports, clubs such as Chelsea will also have to reconsider the level of relationship they have with partner clubs.
FIFA’s new loan regulations are expected to place a limit on the number of players which can move between two clubs in any one season, potentially to two.
Chelsea currently have three players on loan at Vitesse Arnhem, the Dutch club which has offered Eredivisie experience to many players in the Chelsea system.
‘Integral part of Chelsea’s business plan'
The Times goes on to explain why the loan system has been so profitable for Chelsea.
Fifa’s proposals have been developed by a task force created by its football stakeholders committee as part of a wider overhaul of the transfer system. In a presentation to clubs in September the task force explained that its aim was to make the loans of players for the purpose of youth development as opposed to commercial exploitation. The latter motive has been an integral part of the Chelsea business plan for a number of years following a model established by the former sporting director Michael Emenalo. The club have recruited the best young players from all over the world and loaned them out before selling them on for huge profits. In the past five years Chelsea have generated £139 million in transfer fees by selling five players recruited as youngsters and sent out on loan — Nemanja Matic, Romelu Lukaku, Kevin De Bruyne, Ryan Bertrand and Nathan Aké — as well as making significant sums by selling on dozens of other players.
Chelsea's loan army
Tammy Abraham scored four goals against Forest
Image credit: PA Sport
These are the 39 players currently out on loan from Chelsea: