The reason Chelsea signed €10m 19 year old just to loan him out

Yesterday evening it was confirmed that Chelsea would be signing Caleb Wiley from Atlanta United and then loaned to our affiliate club Strasbourg.

In our piece on the subject, we said it was a deal which made perfect sense – he’s a talented young player available at a good price who needs some experience in top European league if he wants to develop. The one thing we weren’t sure about was why Chelsea signed him and loaned him to Strasbourg, rather than the French club simply buying him themselves.

By doing it this way round, we use up a foreign loan slot, and given how precious those are, it’s a major commitment. Our squad is full of senior players like Romelu Lukaku and Kepa Arrizabalaga who we may have to loan out, let alone the host of young talents developed in the academy and signed over the last couple of years.

The reason for this arrangement

Well, today we have our answer. According to an update from an account which tracks Chelsea and their “BlueCo” group of clubs, the reason was that Strasbourg couldn’t afford Wiley while there’s still issues with Ligue 1’s TV rights deal for next season.

Chelsea decided they still wanted the player in their group, so they decided to make the deal happen themselves, paying the money and signing a 7 year contract with the 19 year old, who has started picked up senior USA caps and already looks ready to push himself to the next level in a bigger and better league.

It’s actually a huge vote of confidence in Wiley’s favour. If everyone had backed out because he couldn’t be bought directly, that would be understandable. Instead, they’ve used up one of their precious loan slots, showing they’re convinced he’s likely to be ready to play for Chelsea sooner rather than later.

We will be following Wiley’s development over the next season with much interest.

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