Much has been made of Chelsea's loanees in recent weeks. The London club currently have 38 players out on loan, that's three full squads and five subs for back-up. Those are numbers that prompted us to ask, how would a team of loanees fare in the Premier league?
Well now one of the 38 has opened up on life as a Chelsea loanee, and he isn't exactly over the moon. Lucas Piazon signed for Chelsea in 2001 amidst interest from Italian champions Juventus. But since signing for Chelsea, Piazon has made just one Premier League appearance.
Instead of pushing for a place in the senior squad, Piazon has been loaned out to five different clubs in five seasons. The Brazilian has played for Malaga, Vitesse, Eintracht Frankfurt, Reading, and Fulham, where he currently plays. The 22-year-old will be there until January at least, but Fulham have the option to extend the loan for the rest of the season.
— Lucas Piazon (@LucasPiazon) September 1, 2016
While he has got a reasonable amount of game time at each of those clubs, in an interview with the Daily Mail, Piazon revealed how disillusioned he is with life as a professional loanee.
I'm tired of moving abroad. One, two, three loans, maybe that's enough. It's time for me to stay somewhere more than one year. When they know you'll stay whatever happens, people look at you with different eyes. [...] If I had the chance to go for more than one season I'd do it.
His words betray a lack of belonging and a sense of dissatisfaction with the life as a commercial asset.
It makes no sense to go on loan all the time. It is not good for any player in my experience — or the experience of the other boys. I don't see it as a positive thing any more. To be in a different place every year is not good for me at 22.
Piazon is suggesting a lack of security is hurting his development and a glance over his CV suggests that he could be right. Once one of the brightest prospects in the world of football, Piazon has seen his career stagnate with spells in Spain, Germany and Holland and rather tellingly, his current loan spell will be his second in the Championship. A place in Chelsea's first team must seem a distant goal.
It's difficult to get a place in the team. They have their own players. You do your best, try to get a place in the squad, minutes on the pitch, score and create goals. That's all you can do. [...] I still want to make it at Chelsea, of course. I came to Europe to play for Chelsea and want to do it. Maybe I can come back in the future. If that's not possible I want to go somewhere and stay for more than one season. Not just stay stuck in the club.
Piazon will be hoping that his refreshingly honest assessment will reverberate around the world of football and force major clubs to realise that their young players are not just commodities. That's unlikely though, football thrives on young talent and scouts make a ludicrous living on being able to spot them. Perhaps Piazon's story is just that of another footballer who couldn't make it at the top level.