Chelsea wonderkid Lawrence set for new contract as he looks to join growing loan group

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Henry Lawrence, Chelsea
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The star of the Blues academy is set to join a substantial loan group this season as players look for first-team chances outside of the squad

Chelsea youngster Henry Lawrence is in advanced talks over a new three or four-year contract ahead of his first loan move away from Stamford Bridge.

The homegrown product, who is one of the standout talents from the academy at Cobham, is attracting interest from the Championship and overseas ahead of his 19th birthday.

The star of Chelsea's youth teams could join Armando Broja at Vitesse after impressing Frank Lampard during training sessions and friendly matches.

Lawrence is understood to have played well at right-back against Reading in the behind-closed-doors friendly and has become a regular at senior training sessions ever since.

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He was also an unused substitute in the Champions League last-16 second-leg clash with Bayern Munich alongside Ian Maatsen, Dynel Simeu, Lewis Bate and Broja.

Part of his talent is his versatility, which has seen him shine in a number of positions for Andy Myers' Under-23s and Ed Brand's U18s sides.

With the youth season curtailed early last term, Lawrence still racked up almost 2,500 minutes in the Premier League 2 title-winning campaign and played in every minute of Chelsea's FA Youth Cup run.

He did so playing in a host of positions including left midfield, left-back, right-back, centre-back and as a defensive midfielder. Lampard admitted he was one of the most eye-catching youngsters as the Blues align more closely with the academy since he came in as manager.

"It was always going to be a priority [to establish a pathway from the academy to the senior team] and the relationships were already there," Lampard said in June.

"Joe [Edwards] and Jody [Morris] knew all the players, I knew the more prominent ones, and we all knew Neil Bath and Jim Fraser [from the academy] well. It just had to be reconnected because it hadn't been as connected in recent years.

"I wanted to know all the players, the names of the ones who were training well and deserved a chance. It's easy to pluck a Billy Gilmour, but it's also a case of hearing that, say, Henry Lawrence is training well – then get him over, get him training with us.

"All those little details are important and it's brilliant, it's what it's all about – it shouldn't be any other way.

"I'm certainly excited about the squad we've got, with the young players and if we can get a few additions for areas I feel we need.

"We didn't bring in anyone in January, it didn't work out to be right for us at the time, and last summer we couldn't bring anyone in, so those windows are gone and we haven't changed.

"So I am excited about the squad we've got if we can freshen up in the right areas – we all know that."

Along with Lawrence, Maatsen and Bate are exploring the option of a first loan move away from Stamford Bridge. Meanwhile, Tino Anjorin looks set to stay and compete for a squad place under Lampard for another season.

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A host of more senior players are still exploring loan moves away from west London, such as Fikayo Tomori, Tiemoue Bakayoko, Davide Zappacosta, Conor Gallagher, Baba Rahman, Matt Miazga, Jake Clarke-Salter, Dujon Sterling and Nathan Baxter.

Bakayoko remains locked in talks with AC Milan but discussions over whether to include an option to buy or obligation to buy are slowing down the progress to complete a deal. Gallagher, meanwhile, has interest from West Brom after his deal with Crystal Palace collapsed over Michy Batshuayi moving to Selhurst Park.

Premier League rules only allow clubs to sign one player on loan from within the league which saw Palace prioritise Batshuayi when he became available.

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