For the last six summers, Kenneth Omeruo’s career reached a peculiar crossroad. Unaware of a potential destination, the Nigerian’s destiny was manipulated by Chelsea. At 25 with another summer on the horizon, the Blues should allow Omeruo to depart.
Few players have been at Chelsea longer than Omeruo, and few players have spent as little time at the club too. Signed in 2012, he was farmed out to ADO Den Haag with the ink yet to wilt.
He waited 22 months to play his only game in Chelsea Blue: a Premier League 2 fixture against West Ham. The lineup from that clash is a who’s who of the loan army: Nathan Ake, John Swift, Lewis Baker, Fankaty Dabo and Jeremie Boga all started that day. Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Isaiah Brown came off the bench, while Ola Aina was an unused substitute.
Omeruo distinguished himself, showing incredible maturity and charisma. But two months after that PL2 game he went on loan to Middlesbrough, starting 14 league games in the second half of the season. The next year he had 19 appearances for Middlesbrough, followed by years as a regular at Kasimpasa, Alanyaspor, Kasimpasa again and now Leganes.
Of that PL2 matchday squad, only Nathan Ake comes close to as many minutes – let alone minutes with first division teams – as Omeruo. But all good things must come to an end and, unusually, Omeruo sees his time in the loan army as a good thing.
Omeruo’s attention is finding that elusive club. In a separate interview, Omeruo spoke about how – at age 25 with a family – the loan life is no longer appropriate for him.
“I deserve stability in my career as a footballer… After enduring instability with different loan moves, it’s time to finally settle down with my young family”, he told in an interview with BBC.
Chelsea is renowned for its notorious loan policy. You would have to be christened Eden Hazard to break into the first team. Young, promising stars move to Stamford Bridge but rarely don the Blue. Tomas Kalas (now the longest-serving Blue, with four appearances), Mario Pasalic, Lucas Piazon and – barring their return to the first team – Victor Moses and Alvaro Morata deserve stability.
Omeruo credits Chelsea for supporting him and giving him a decent amount of autonomy with his career. However, the Nigerian would be even more grateful to walk away.
Omeruo has been phenomenal at Leganes. The Nigerian defender is at the heart of a plucky Leganes side who have conceded 35 times – the best by La Liga sides in the bottom half. This is based on the rock-solid defence that Omeruo is marshalling. The 25-year-old has featured 21 times for the modest side, failing to start once.
The best thing Chelsea can do is to sell Omeruo to Leganes if they do not have the transfer ban, or extend his loan there one more year and let the Spanish side sign him for free when his contract expires in June 2020. However, Premier League betting sites has tipped the Nigerian for Stamford Bridge return. Betting on the Premier League this season is arguably more difficult than before, odds will fluctuate over the season, predictions expect it to be the closest campaign in years. Liverpool and City are the favourites, but we all know that the Premier League is one of the most unpredictable leagues in Europe, so who knows what could happen, but we are going to have a good time and amazing matches this year for sure.
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