German side Schalke have signed Chelsea defender Baba Rahman on a season-long loan, it has been revealed.
Rahman signed for the Blues in August of last year when José Mourinho was the club’s manager. He brought the 22-year-old in from Bundesliga outfit Augsburg as cover for the team’s first-choice left-back Cesar Azpilicueta.
Rahman appeared in 23 matches for Chelsea in all competitions in the last campaign, even after Mourinho departed the club in December. The self-proclaimed ‘Special One’ was sacked by owner Roman Abramovich after leading the Blues to their worst start to a top-flight campaign since the 1960s. He was replaced on an interim basis by Guus Hiddink who continued to use the Ghanian international sparingly during his time at the helm.
Antonio Conte has now been brought in as Chelsea’s permanent head coach and the former Italy national manager has decided that Rahman is surplus to requirements at Stamford Bridge. Rahman is not the first player that Conte has allowed to leave on loan, with Nathan Ake, Charly Musonda and Lewis Baker all temporarily leaving the club during the window so far.
Rahman was signed by Mourinho after some impressive performances in the Bundesliga over the previous few years. He made 48 appearances at Greuther Furth, a Bundesliga 2 team, scoring two goals. Those appearances earned him the move to Augsburg in August of 2014 and he played for them 51 times in all competitions. That caught Mourinho’s eye and he sanctioned the £21.7 million signing of the player.
Now, though, he’s returning to Germany to be reunited with his former Augsburg boss Markus Weinzierl. Weinzierl took over as Schalke manager in June of this year and is delighted at the prospect of working with the defender once more.
Speaking to the German newspaper Ruhr Nachrichten the player himself revealed that he thinks he was allowed to leave Stamford Bridge as his style of play is ‘too attacking’ for Antonio Conte. He said, “Chelsea manager Antonio Conte told me that he wants his team to be very defensive, but I am a rather offensive full back. So I would have had very little playing time. Conte advised me to leave on loan. We will see what happens after this season”.
Rahman also made something of a scathing remark about the quality of Premier League football, suggesting that he’s better suited to the German game. He said, “A lot of players in England are very powerful, whereas in Germany you see some better football. A lot of Premier League teams are still very much playing kick and rush football”.
The Ghanian’s departure means that Chelsea only have two senior full-backs in the squad moving into the 2016-2017 campaign. It increases the likelihood that Conte will dip back into the transfer market to add to the signings he’s already made. Michy Batshuayi was brought in from Marseille for £33 million and N’Golo Konte was bought from Premier League champions Chelsea in a deal believed to be worth around £30 million.