World of Sport

‘Small-squad’ Chelsea’s 23 players out on loan

Rafael Benitez has told Roman Abramovich that Chelsea's squad is not strong enough to cope with the demands of this season.

Interim manager Benitez has blamed the Blues' inconsistent form on a lack of depth and variety in a playing pool that has also been hit by injury and suspension.

However, one might have a bit more sympathy for the Spaniard if it wasn't for the fact that Chelsea have a staggering 23 players currently out on loan.

Multi-million pound signings such as Romelu Lukaku, Michael Essien, Kevin de Bruyne, Thibaut Courtois and Lucas Piazon have been shipped out to clubs around the world in a bid to reduce wages and get younger players first-team appearance.

The combined transfer fees paid for the missing players is a staggering £81.1 million.

Benitez said of his squad: "It is difficult for us because we play a game every three days. I don’t know if we will get anyone in the transfer window. We’ve had conversations and now it depends on the club.

"We cannot bring back some of the players who are out on loan because we have an agreement that they will carry on for the rest of the season.

"The squad would be fine if we had everyone available. Hopefully the injured players will come back and the African Nations Cup will give us our players back sooner rather than later.

"Then we’ll have to manage the squad to deal with this congestion."

The 23 players out on loan at the moment and how much Chelsea paid for them

1. Michael Essien (Real Madrid) CM - £24.5m

2. Romelu Lukaku (West Brom) ST - £18m

3. Thibaut Courtois (Atletico Madrid) GK - £8m

4. Kevin De Bruyne (Werder Bremen) LM - £7m

5. Lucas Piazon (Malaga) AM - £5m

6. Ulises Davila (Sabadell) AM - £5m

7. Tomas Kalas (Vitesse Arnhem) CB - £5m

8. Wallace (Fluminense) RB - £5m

9. Matej Delac (Inter Zapresic) GK - £2m

10. Thorgen Hazard (Waregem) AM - £1.5m

11. Jeffrey Bruma (Hamburg) CB - £100,000

12. Nathaniel Chalobah (Watford) CB – Academy

13. Patrick Van Aanholt (Vitesse Arnhem) LB – Academy

14. Gael Kakuta (Vitesse Arnhem) AM – Academy

15. Josh McEachran (Middlesbrough) CM – Academy

16. Amin Affane (Roda JC) AM – Academy

17. Jhon Pirez (Leganes) ST – Academy

18. Anjur Osmanovic (Larje) CM – Academy

19. Billy Clifford (Colchester) CM – Academy

20. Sam Hutchinson (Nottingham Forest) CB – Academy

21. Kenneth Omeruo (Den Haag) CB – Academy

22. Todd Kane (Blackburn) RB – Academy

23. Sam Walker (Colchester) GK – Academy