Shortly after Lucas Piazon joined Chelsea as a teenager in 2011, the Brazilian attacker gave an interview in which he had one determined message. “Everybody knows I am here to play,” he said.
Eight years later Piazon, now 25, is still on the books at Stamford Bridge and became the club’s longest-serving player when Tomas Kalas was sold to Bristol City for £8million last month.
Except his number of minutes in the Premier League for his parent club across that time is a grand total of 14, coming as a substitute in the 8-0 win at home to Aston Villa in December 2012.
Since then there have been six loan moves, taking in five different countries, and with five days left before the European transfer window closes a seventh now seems inevitable.
A source close to Piazon confirmed to football.london that there has been firm interest from Portugal and Spain with a decision on his future likely in the next 48 hours. Reports in Portugal also suggest that Rio Ave are confident of agreeing a two-year loan deal – and that is where things get interesting because he is out of contract at the end of this season.
Last week Chelsea announced that the defender Davide Zappacosta, whose deal was also running out at the end of June 2020, had signed a contract extension but was heading out on loan to Roma. From the club’s point of view such a move makes sense as it ensures that the Italian cannot depart on a free transfer.
The same would likely happen with Piazon if that two-year loan deal goes through. However, he has never been further away from a place in Chelsea’s first-team squad and there must be a point where it is best for all concerned to part ways.
He was part of the group that travelled to Dublin for the start of pre-season and played 45 minutes in the opening friendly, a 1-1 draw with Bohemians, but did not feature against St Patrick’s Athletic three days later and then remained in London as the squad headed east for the next stage of their tour.
Lucas Piazon’s loan moves
Malaga 2012-13 – Made 11 appearances in La Liga having joined Manuel Pellegrini’s side in January 2013. Provided two assists and also briefly featured off the bench in both legs of the Champions League round of 16 tie against Porto.
Vitesse 2013-14 – Spent the entire campaign in Arnhem and was largely impressive, scoring 11 goals and setting up eight more in 29 league outings as Vitesse finished in sixth position.
Eintracht Frankfurt 2014-15 – Swapped the Eredivisie for Bundesliga and despite featuring regularly was not as productive, scoring just twice.
Reading 2015-16 – Went to the Madejski Stadium next but scored just five times in 26 appearances in all competitions.
Fulham 2016-18 – Became a fan favourite for a time at Craven Cottage as Chelsea’s West London neighbours reached the play-offs in both seasons. Scored five goals in both campaigns but did not feature as prominently in the second campaign as Fulham won promotion.
Chievo 2018-19 – Having remained at Chelsea for the first half of the season, went to Italy in January and struggled to find form. Made just four appearances as the team from Verona finished bottom of Serie A.