Despite housing the ageing Didier Drogba, whose recent displays have made it clear to all that the legendary Ivorian is no longer fit for elite level soccer, Chelsea are allegedly once again willing to allow fledgling superstar Patrick Bamford to be loaned out next season.
The Championship Player of the Year’s 19 goals so have steered Middlesbrough into the second-tier play-offs and the FA Cup fifth round and, after impressing at MK Dons and Derby in the previous campaign, the England Under-21 ace is evidently ready for a crack at the Premier League.
Chelsea’s reluctance to develop talented youngsters has seen the club come in for ample criticism over the past decade, with the Blues preferring instead to spend millions on new recruits as opposed to blooding academy products.
Such an approach, however, presents an opportunity for the not as fiscally endowed to profit in the shape of borrowing those young guns who have no hope of ever making an impact of Stamford Bridge.
Newcastle and Aston Villa are two top-tier outfits to have already registered an interest in Bamford’s services for next season, while Boro will surely be keen to have him back should they navigate the post-season path of peril into the Premier League.
But how can potential suitors expect 2014/15’s finest footballer outside of the nation’s highest division to fare.
Based on the fortunes of those to have claimed the Player of the Year mantle before him this decade, they should be desperate to land the 21-year-old goalsmith.
Danny Ings – Player of the Year 2013/14
After scoring 21 times in 40 appearances to guide Burnley to a universally unanticipated promotion, the former Bournemouth man has helped himself to nine strikes in the top-flight.
This figure equates to over 34% of the Clarets’ seasonal haul in the league so far and, after proving his worth in the loftiest echelon, Ings has found himself a sought-after figure by sides of Manchester United, Tottenham and Liverpool’s ilk.
Rickie Lambert – Player of the Year 2011/12
The current Liverpool hitman was handed the gong after spearheading Southampton’s second successive promotion.
Having spent his entire career in the third and fourth tier prior to the campaign in question, Lambert exemplified his class by registering the third-highest tally of a lengthy career, notching 27 league goals as the Saints came second.
The next two seasons at the highest domestic level didn’t deter him either, with 28 bagged across both terms before being recruited by his boyhood club.
Kevin Nolan – Player of the Year 2009/10
The West Ham skipper had enjoyed multiple stellar seasons of top-flight football at Bolton before dipping into the Championship for a solitary campaign with Newcastle.
His years of experience at the highest level were soon made evident as Nolan bagged 17 goals in steering the Magpies to the title.
Following promotion he registered his best ever Premier League tally, scoring 12 times including a hat-trick in a 5-1 north east derby decimation of Sunderland.