Lucas Piazon has questioned the “business” of loaning players out at Chelsea, with the Brazilian relieved to have finally got out of Stamford Bridge and secured himself a permanent move to Braga.
The 26-year-old midfielder was snapped up by the Blues in 2011 and would spend close to 10 years tied to the Premier League heavyweights.
He took in only three competitive appearances across that decade, with much of his time spent outside of west London.
A first loan spell was sanctioned in 2013, as he headed to Malaga, and six more would follow across the next seven years.
Piazon spent time with Vitesse, Eintracht Frankfurt, Reading, Fulham, Chievo and Rio Ave while clinging to the belief that a big break would come his way at Chelsea.
That never arrived, with plenty of others falling into that category, and the South American has questioned the Blues' recruitment model.
Piazon, who has linked up with Braga during the current transfer window, told Oh My Goal on the experiences of a loan army at Chelsea: “To be honest, we would come back and we would go to pre-season with the new coach and the new players were coming in from the summer and they were always like, ‘if you do well the coach might keep you’.
“But deep down inside we knew that we didn't have a chance because they were paying big money for the players and the club would definitely use them. We knew that we would be there for three, four or five weeks and they would then try to send us out on loan again.
“In the beginning I felt like Chelsea really wanted me and really wanted me to do well and come back.
“But after the third or fourth loan, I knew it was just maybe business. [It was] like 'you go into the world and someone will buy you and you will be happy about it – you're not going to play here anymore’.
“When I went from Holland to Germany, it was a completely different world because the German league is totally different from the Dutch league. The team I was playing for in Holland was totally different from the team I was playing for in Germany.
“The way they wanted to play, what the coach wanted from me in one place and what the coach wanted from me in the other place – it took time to adapt and to adjust to what he wants and what the team wants.
“Maybe if I stayed in Germany I would've done a better job because it was a big change. It's always a big change and it takes time. You have to be patient but when you're on loan there is no patience.
“The pressure on you to perform is huge because you are from Chelsea.”
Piazon’s most productive loan spell came at Fulham, with promotion to the Premier League secured across a two-year stint at Craven Cottage.
No deal was done to keep him there, though, with the tricky winger adding: “I was sure that I was going to stay there.
“I had two great seasons there and I loved the club. I loved the group – we had two amazing years together and in my mind, I was definitely going to go there.
“I still don't know [what happened]. We had another player from Chelsea there called Tomas Kalas. He also didn't stay. Until now we still don't know if the offer that Fulham made Chelsea was enough or if Fulham even made an offer for us.
“That was tough because I spent two years there and I had a great connection with the club, with the fans and not being able to stay there in the Premier League was frustrating.”