Plenty of players return to Stamford Bridge from loan spells this summer ... but who will have the biggest impact?
Chelsea have made three signings this summer and the trio look like excellent acquisitions.
Firstly there is Andre Schurrle. A versatile forward capable of playing in many positions. Then there is Marco van Ginkel. He has been dubbed the ‘next Sneijder’ and he will be coming straight into the Chelsea first-team despite his young age. Finally there is Mark Schwarzer, the 40-year-old brought in to cover the clubs troublesome goalkeeping area.
But the reality is that the return of some of their loan stars effectively act as new signings in their own right.
So who will have the biggest impact upon their return to Stamford Bridge?
Well the likes of Gael Kakuta, Josh McEachran and Sam Hutchison will probably be sent back on their way imminently or indeed slotted into the under-21 fold.
Kakuta has not lived up to his potential and is itching for a Chelsea exit, McEachran was good but faded toward the end of his Middlesbrough spell whilst Hutchison struggled with injury once again.
Then there is Lucas Piazon, who spent the end of last term at Malaga. For all his obvious talent he struggled to make an impact in Spain and is likely to be farmed out once again or continue his development in South-West London.
But what about the ones who had excellent spells away from the club in 2012-13?
For example; what do they do with Thorgan Hazard?
The little brother of Eden had an excellent spell with Zulte Waregem in Belgium last season almost leading them to their first ever Belgian title.
As it is the winners of the Belgian championship Anderlecht are said to be keen on bringing him in next year … and one more year out on loan would probably be a good idea.
Then there is the big four returnees in my opinion.
First, Kenneth Omeruo; who has returned from a spell with Dutch outfit ADO Den Haag.
He was their player of the season last term and has been in fabulous form for Nigeria in the past seven months. Competition at the back is fierce but I have no doubt the 19-year-old will start to make inroads into the first-team next term.
Nathaniel Chalobah had an excellent season with Watford last year but also faces tough competition in the heart of midfield. A good pre-season and exits for John Obi Mikel and Oriol Romeu would improve his chances.
Kevin de Bruyne also had an excellent season last year; in Germany with Werder Bremen. So much so Borussia Dortmund tried to buy him this summer. Jose Mourinho has told him he will be a first-team player next season and even shipped out Marko Marin to Sevilla to lessen the competition on the young Belgian.
He faces a task getting in the team ahead of Schurrle, Oscar, Mata et al but given his talent he might play an important role next season.
But for me, the player returning who will have the biggest season, has to be Romelu Lukaku.
He is exactly the type of striker Mourinho likes.
Think Derlei, Drogba, Benzema; Big, strong, fast, smart and absolutely clinical in front of goal.
He bagged goals galore for The Baggies last term; and I think he will have a telling season for Chelsea in 2013-14.
image: © wshjackson