Chelsea defender Kenneth Omeruo has had a 2013 to remember. He was a vital cog in the Super Eagle machine that was victorious at the African Cup of Nations at the start of the year - and was then given assurances of first-team football at Chelsea in the new season.
Unfortunately the footballing gods had different plans - and he suffered a shoulder injury before the start of the campaign that saw him require surgery.
But he recently returned to action for both club and country - and is set to go out on loan in January to get first-team action.
He won the player of the year gong while at Dutch Eredivisie outfit ADO Den Haag for the 2012-13 season. But his agent confirmed this week that a return to Holland was not on the cards. In fact, Obinna Emelogu Chukwudi, informed MTNFootball.com of the five teams who were all vying for his temporary signature in January:
“There have been some interests from both the English Premier League and the Championship for Kenneth. From the EPL, we have had the likes of Swansea City and Hull City, while in the Championship we have got Queens Park Rangers, Watford and Huddersfield Town. A decision on where the player will go will only be known in January, but Chelsea would prefer he stays in England and that he joins a decent club on loan till the end of the season.”
So which team is the best option for the player?
Capable of playing both at right and centre back, he has to go somewhere where he will play regularly. This should rule out Swansea City. Competing with Chico Flores, Ashley Williams, Jordi Amat and the rest for first-team football does not seem like a wise move.
Hull City would be a good option. They could use defensive reinforcements, especially after their recent dip in form. It would also give Omeruo Premier League rather than Championship football.
QPR would keep him local, always a benefit to any loan deal. But Harry Redknapp currently has a settled back four that Omeruo would struggle to crack.
Huddersfield Town is probably a destination too far away from London who don’t play the football Chelsea would want him to.
Which leaves Watford, perhaps the best option for all parties.
The Hornets play with three at the back - so would love a central defender used to covering right to sit alongside Joel Ekstrand and co.
The manager Gianfranco Zola is a Chelsea legend, and maintains a good relationship with the club so communication would not be an issue, either would distance.
Nathaniel Chalobah excelled at Vicarage Road last term and Omeruo could do the same - whilst playing the type of football that Chelsea envisage in the future.
Watford are out of form at the moment, and desperately need to improve in order to make it into the play-offs again this season.
Omeruo could be the missing piece of the puzzle - and the best option for Chelsea if they want to see their talented defender improve.
image: © geetarchurchy