There’s such a feel good factor around Chelsea Football Club right now, from first team superstars to the maintenance staff, there’s a sense of everybody pulling in the same direction.
So spare a thought for Ethan Ampadu.
The 19-year-old is highly regarded at the club, so much so, that he has recently signed a new five year deal.
Ampadu had caught the eye of scouts after making his Exeter City debut at just 15-years-old, becoming their youngest ever player.
Being under 24, Ampadu was able to speak to any club before signing a professional contract, and chose Chelsea as the best club to further his career.
That decision seemed vindicated early last season, when he was handed Premier League playing time. However he failed to nail down a regular place and found himself either out injured or playing with the U23’s
The difficult thing with Ampadu, is nailing down his best position. Is he a right back? Is he a centre half? Or is he a central midfielder?
Maybe that’s his strong point though, a bit like a James Milner, who a coach can trust in multiple positions.
Last season I saw him as the perfect deputy for N’Golo Kante due to his work rate and tenacious nature.
However in Frank Lampard’s Chelsea, I’m not sure where he’d fit in. Especially when you consider there’s still Ruben Loftus-Cheek to come back from injury and the likes of Connor Gallagher impressing on loan.
That’s perhaps why Lampard decided to loan him out and a move to the Bundesliga, and a Champions League team in RB Leipzig, seemed on the face of it, a good choice.
Things however, haven’t planned out as Ampadu, or Chelsea, would’ve liked. The Wales international is yet to play a single minute for the German side, a concern raised by Ryan Giggs during the recent international break.
Ampadu is at that age where you tend to break through and establish yourself, or start slipping down the pegging order.
And with the amount of talent coming through the ranks right now at the club, that’s a big risk for Ampadu.
But it’s not just footballing reasons why Ampadu needs to come home, it’s the psychological side as well.
He’s a young lad, away from home, not playing, not feeling at home or loved within his loan team.
Watching from a distance, Frank’s Youth Revolution, wondering what might have been had he stayed.
This situation throws doubt onto these loan deals, why was the club interested in the first place? Why didn’t we input a clause to make sure he got guaranteed playing time? Why can’t we just recall him now?
I know the club keep in regular contact with all its loanees, but that won’t take away the lonely nights, especially as he doesn’t speak the language.
Some players get their careers halted through bad injuries, just look at Marco Van Ginkel, but a bad experience likes this can have just as big an impact as a major injury set back.
Ampadu has amazing potential and I’m hopeful that once this ordeal is over and a loan deal that’s better suited to his needs or even staying with the first team, we’ll start to see the talent that got him into the Exeter first team at 15.
So come on Chelsea, do the right thing…
Bring him home.
Dean is the author of ‘Cult Fiction- how a year under Sarri almost tore Chelsea apart’ available on Amazon now amzn.to/2T7v5Tu