Andrew Gibney profiles a dozen young players who might find first-team opportunities limited again this term...
Patience at the highest level is difficult to come by. Everyone wants to build a winning team, but trying to grow organically doesn't often go hand in hand with instant success.
Finding the next bright young thing is every team's dream goal, but the reality is that it's now more likely than ever that a player’s progress will be stunted by the constant influx of big-money transfers, rather than being given time to impress at the top level.
With that, here are 12 young players who might just find themselves frustrated by the season's end...
1) Bertrand Traore (Chelsea)
Two loan spells at Vitesse Arnhem saw Blues youngster Traore score 17 goals for the Dutch club. This season he's been cleared to play for Chelsea – handed the No.14 shirt at Stamford Bridge – but it's hard to see where the Burkina Faso international will actually fit in. Jose Mourinho can call on PFA Player of the Year Eden Hazard, Willian, Jose Cuadrado and even Victor Moses in the forward roles, while highly rated new Brazilian signing Kenedy has now secured a work permit to play. Even without his fellow youngster to compete with, there seems an awful lot of competition for the exciting 19-year-old.
2) Rony Lopes (Man City)
His season on loan at Lille may have been hampered by two thigh injuries, but in northern France Marcos 'Rony' Lopes constantly sparked excitement around the Stade Pierre Mauroy. He may have managed only three assists and as many goals, but the midfield playmaker dragged Lille bums off seats every time he picked up the ball in the final third. Returning to Manchester City after representing Portugal in the Under-20 World Cup, the arrival of Raheem Sterling and Fabian Delph has somewhat glossed over the additional option available to Manuel Pellegrini. His contract is up next summer, making another loan deal unlikely.