6 returning Premier League loanees who could shine with their parent clubs in 2019/20
Kurt Zouma, Chelsea
Far from a youngster any more, Zouma will turn 25 in October – and perhaps this is the year he can finally establish himself at Chelsea. Gary Cahill is moving on and Andreas Christensen was rarely favoured over the last 12 months, while the Frenchman himself flourished as a starter at Everton.
Zouma showed impressive levels of consistency at Goodison Park, and that he is ready for the next challenge. It might be his final chance to prove himself as an option at Stamford Bridge if the Blues' transfer ban remains in place.
Whether he'll be up for competing with Antonio Rudiger and David Luiz is another question – and Everton would gladly snap him up permanently – but from Chelsea's perspective they have a ready-made Cahill replacement returning to west London this summer.
Kieran Dowell, Everton
A talented attacking midfielder, Dowell was fleetingly involved in Everton’s squad at the start of 2018/19. A loan to Sheffield United proved useful instead, though: the 21-year-old played a role in helping the Blades' achieve automatic promotion to the Premier League, appearing in 16 matches under Chris Wilder.
Considering his versatility, particularly from the left or as a No.10, the England Under-21 international must be hopeful of seeing action for the Toffees next term.
Marco Silva's first-team spots might be locked down, but Everton need squad depth. If Dowell can act as cover to both Gylfi Sigurdsson and Bernard – and find some consistency in his game – then he stands a good chance of impressing Silva enough to be considered for next term. Sheffield United may well take him for their own top-flight tilt, however.
Marko Grujic, Liverpool
Liverpool have two big decisions to make on returning loan players, first with Grujic. The powerful midfielder has enjoyed a fine campaign at Hertha Berlin, who remain admirers and want him back – but his value has risen so much that the Reds will surely sell or keep him for their own first-team squad.
With James Milner ageing, Adam Lallana perennially sidelined and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain still finding long-term fitness, a big pre-season showing for Grujic could see him force his way into the team. He has every major trait going for a modern box-to-box player: perfect for Jurgen Klopp’s No.8 roles.
Axel Tuanzebe, Manchester United
Tuanzebe already has a few games at Manchester United to his name, mainly from the 2016/17 season under Jose Mourinho - but this could be the season that the 21-year-old stakes a claim at first-team level.
He enjoyed a tremendous second half of the season at Aston Villa and, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer adamant that he won’t be signing a centre-back this summer, Tuanzebe will look to make his mark in pre-season.
Eric Bailly’s injury, Chris Smalling’s continued devotion to mediocrity and Marcos Rojo being Marcos Rojo all mean that the Hungry Hippos world record holder (yes, really) could quickly get the chance to become a figurehead for Solskjaer's new-look team. Good luck to him.
Tammy Abraham, Chelsea
One Chelsea player whose immediate future likely relies on whether or not their transfer ban is implemented is striker Abraham.
He struck 26 goals for Villa as the West Midlanders won promotion via the play-offs, and the 21-year-old's next logical step would be as a starter on loan at a bottom-half Premier League club. It’s unlikely Chelsea would turn to him regularly initially – but as Callum Hudson-Odoi showed, talent will eventually get you in at Stamford Bridge.
If the Blues can sign players, expect their attack to be the first area of attention. If not, Abraham will surely get his chances.
Harry Wilson, Liverpool
Many Liverpool fans are hoping to see Wilson play a squad role at least next season. He was a regular goalscorer for Derby in their promotion push, has shown aptitude as a second striker, and demonstrated exemplary set-piece prowess – not least against Manchester United.
In truth, he’s still levels below Liverpool’s starting wide forwards, but a real season of progress could be merited with senior involvement – at least for the first half of the campaign. Xherdan Shaqiri could well have competition from the academy graduate as the first backup in wide areas.
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