Next season Lewis Baker will be hungry to get a chance at playing first-team football and with the arrival of Cesc Fabregas at Chelsea, it seems a loan option maybe his only way.
Premier League clubs, especially lower mid-table Premier League clubs, will obviously seem like a good option for the 19-year-old who has proven himself exceptional at both England and Chelsea youth team level. However, it would be unprecedented for a Premier League club to pin their hopes on an untried 19-year-old, no matter how highly-rated he is.
Therefore, the best option for the starlet would either be abroad or the Championship which, in both cases, can prove to either be a fantastic decision or a complete disaster. In fact, that was proven last season when Chalobah, who had a terrific loan spell at Watford, went to Forest and failed to get into the team on a regular basis.
The obvious caution when sending a highly-rated youngster out on-loan is the reputation of the coach and what influence he could have on the player in the future which, in Baker’s case, could be huge. Thankfully for Mourinho, he has a number of coaches in the English second division that he seems to trust.
During Chelsea’s FA Cup match with Derby County, the Portuguese manager talked up former England manager Steve McClaren’s ability and suggested that the Rams could be a haven for his young players in the future and his former assistant at Real Madrid, Aitor Karanka, at Middlesbrough offers another option.
Chelsea supporters on www.theshedend.com have also been discussing the future of the 19-year-old midfield prospect and whether he should be given a chance next season. However, despite a number of supporters genuinely behind the starlet, the majority are suggesting a loan spell would be a better option for him.
‘’Out of all the youngsters we have, i really hope Lewis gets a chance to prove himself on a more regular basis than he has this season. He, as well as others, are our future in terms of English talent and I don't want us to mess this one up. I would hate to see him not given a chance and for some other rival team to snap him up. ‘’
‘’Baker is the one that I think could make it, I think he's better further forward than the likes of Van Ginkle and Chaloba so that could help. I'd like to see him involved with the 1st team squad this season rather than out on loan, but he's very young so wouldn't expect him to play much if at all.’’
‘’Perfect replacement for Frank.’’
‘’He'd be better off going out on loan, but if Van Ginkel goes out on loan and we don't keep Romeu, Baker could perhaps get some time at the end of games. That said Chalobah is also ahead of him, possibly Ake too who has mainly been played in midfield on his rare first team appearances.’’
‘’I'm all for giving youth a chance but it's not Baker's time. There's at least 3 other youngsters ahead of him at the moment.’’
‘’I dont have enough fingers to counts the young players who deserve a chance in our squad and do not get it. If lukaku after 2 great seasons dosnt get it, why should baker would?’’
‘’Baker is great on the ball when he wants. That seems to be his problem, he is great when he actually wants to be which from my time spent watching him is roughly half the time hes on the pitch. I doubt he has the right attitude to make it under a manager so demanding as Jose.’’
‘’I hate to put a 'downer' on this topic, but do you think that us Chelsea fans get far too excited about our youth players? I would love to see a homegrown lad come through the ranks... But there going to have to be something 'truly special' - is Lewis Baker going to become one if the best midfielders in the world?? ....’’
‘’No he shouldn't. He should be loaned out for a couple of years to get him in the shop window, then sold.’’
The 19-year-old talent, like so many other young players, could prove to be crowded out of a first-team chance at Stamford Bridge and have to primed to be moved on in the future.
The comment: ‘’No he shouldn't. He should be loaned out for a couple of years to get him in the shop window, then sold,'' is very telling to the mentality of Chelsea fans towards their younger players, and who could blame them after failing to see so many reach the first team?
Baker, whilst he may get the odd few minutes on the pitch, will struggle to get in ahead of the likes of Fabregas, Matic, Ramires and Van Ginkel permanently, so may have to move on permanently - like Matic - in order to progress in the future if he does not make rapid progress over the next 12 months.