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Why Chelsea’s decision to offload promising 18-year-old starlet on loan was the right choice

Ian Maatsen has completed a loan move to Charlton Athletic
Ian Maatsen has completed a loan move to Charlton Athletic

Why Chelsea loaning out Ian Maatsen is ideal for all parties

As confirmed via Chelsea’s official website, Blues academy prospect Ian Maatsen has joined League One outfit Charlton Athletic on a season-long loan deal to further his development with regular game time.


Ian Maatsen started his footballing education at Feyenoord and featured for Sparta Rotterdam and PSV Eindhoven at the youth level in his homeland before completing a move to Chelsea in the summer of 2018. The highly-rated left-back was promoted to the U-23 side in his debut season at Cobham after impressing in the U-18 Premier League.

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Ian Maatsen has completed a season-long loan move to Charlton Athletic in League One (Getty Images)

The 18-year-old has since established himself as a key player for Chelsea’s reserve side at the Premier League 2 level, registering 30 appearances for the U-23s. Maatsen has also caught the eye for the U-19s in the UEFA Youth League. The Dutch starlet was handed his senior professional debut as a second-half substitute in Chelsea’s 7-1 rout of Grimsby Town in the EFL Cup last year.

Maatsen, who signed a new long-term deal with the Blues back in March, has represented the Netherland across various age-group levels between U-16 and U-19. 

Loan move – a fair settlement for all parties?

Essentially a left-back by trade, Maatsen has showcased his versatility to play as a wing-back, centre-back, right-back, and also as a central midfielder at the youth level. 

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Maatsen made his first-team debut for Chelsea in the EFL Cup last year (Getty Images)

The 18-year-old has been tipped for a bright future by fans and pundits alike, but staying put at Stamford Bridge and playing the odd cup game wouldn’t have done his development a world of good. Maatsen’s prospects of breaking into Frank Lampard’s plans looked slim, with Marcos Alonso, Emerson, and Ben Chilwell all competing for places.

The fact that Maatsen made his mark for the Blues’ U-23 side at 17 clearly indicates a level of maturity that belies his tender years. Having proven his worth at the PL 2 level, a loan move was always going to be the next big step in his development curve and a temporary stint in League One should prepare him for a smoother transition to top-flight football in the years to come.

One might argue that Chelsea should have loaned him out to a Championship club but his chances of playing regularly certainly look a whole lot better in League One. Charlton are a big club with a good manager in Lee Bowyer and Maatsen should now utilise the opportunity to progress in the right direction.

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Source: Getty Images

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Ian Maatsen put pen to paper on a new long-term deal at Stamford Bridge earlier this year, meaning he’s certainly a part of Chelsea’s long-term plans moving forward. His talent can hardly be called into question and all he needs is regular minutes at the senior level to deliver on his potential. 

Suffice to say, Chelsea’s decision to send the Dutch starlet on loan to Charlton makes perfect sense in footballing terms and they will be expecting him to come back a more polished player next summer.

Written by Sayan Chatterjee

A Premier League enthusiast and an avid follower of the beautiful game.

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