Few players can count themselves as unlucky as Oriol Romeu last season, who picked up a nasty injury just as a regular starting spot seemed about to open up to him at Chelsea last season.
Rafa Benitez was keen to give him a chance, and with John Obi Mikel heading to the African Cup of Nations and Chelsea facing a deluge of fixtures, Romeu would surely have had the opportunity to make a major breakthrough at Stamford Bridge.
Instead he sat out the second half of the season, and now could slip further down the pecking order if new manager Jose Mourinho decides to bolster his midfield options, with a move for Dutch player Marco Van Ginkel currently looking likely.
Loaning Romeu out looks a good option for Chelsea, who have seen the benefits of letting their players gain first team experience elsewhere with Thibaut Courtois, Kevin De Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku all excelling last season.
Spanish side Celta Vigo are reportedly keen to take Romeu for a year, but Chelsea might see a move to another Premier league club as their best option for the midfielder.
Swansea City would be a fine choice if Michael Laudrup could see a place for Romeu in his squad, with the Carling Cup champions playing an brand of passing football that would fit with Romeu’s Barcelona youth academy education.
London rivals Fulham could also be a good destination for Romeu, with Martin Jol keen to add some resources in midfield, and if West Brom could see a place for the Spaniard then Steve Clarke’s good relationship with Chelsea might help them negotiate a loan deal.
The player himself might favour a return to Spain for a year, but it would be in his and Chelsea’s best interests to see him play regularly in the Premier League if he is looking to stake a claim for a first team place at Stamford Bridge. Romeu is still just 21, but if he is going to make at impact at Chelsea, you feel that next season will be very important wherever he is playing.