According to the BBC, Chelsea are about to sanction the £750,000 sale of young midfielder Josh McEachran to Championship Brentford. The 22-year-old is set to sign a four-year deal with the Bees to become their sixth signing of the summer.
McEachran was supposed to be the poster boy of the Chelsea academy. He won the FA Youth Cup with Chelsea in 2010 and also the under-17 European Championship in the same year.
The midfielder showed such promise when he broke into the Chelsea squad at just 17-years-old.
He was handed a lucrative five-year deal with the Blues in 2011 and was expected to build on some promising early performances. Unfortunately for the youngster he went on to make just 22 appearances for the Blues since making his debut in September 2010.
McEachran was sent out on-loan on numerous occasions with the belief that first team football elsewhere would help him realise his supposed potential, it did not and McEachran has become something of a tale of caution.
The midfielder has played at Swansea, Middlesbrough, Watford, Wigan and last season at Vitesse Arnhem. The once promising young midfielder never really shined in any of his loan spells. He has not scored a league goal in senior football and struggled to make an impact at any level so far.
The only team that he even sustained a regular place in was Middlesbrough, when he managed to make 38 Championship appearances in season 2012/13. Not exactly a great achievement merely playing that amount of games in the second tier of English football.
Maybe McEachran is a victim of his circumstances. Having broken into the Chelsea first team squad at just 17 there were big expectations laid at the door of the youngster.
He was that rarity, an English youngster breaking into one of the country’s leading teams. It is notoriously difficult for youngsters at the likes of Chelsea, Manchester United and Manchester City to break into their first team, although the likes of Arsenal and Liverpool do have slightly better records when it comes to giving youngsters a chance.
However not a lot of home-grown youngsters from the academy have become regular first team players at the club in recent years. That is why there was so much expectation on McEachran and everybody was so keen to see how the midfielder developed.
In the end he never did really develop into a better player at Chelsea and the loan moves that were supposed to help his career may just have had the opposite effect and stifled his development as a footballer.
His possible destination of Brentford could be an ideal place for the midfielder to finally settle and start to enjoy his football at a decent level. The Bees finished fifth in the Championship last season and are odds of 12/1 to win promotion to the Premier League in the coming campaign.
Brentford seems like the sort of club that a player with potential could be allowed freedom to develop. Maybe Chelsea was just too much too soon for the McEachran and a permanent move away from the club is what he needs at this point of his career.
He may have struggled in his loan spells in the second tier, but a permanent move could provide the stability that Josh McEachran needs to finally start fulfilling his potential.
Sometimes people have to take a step back before taking a step forward and this could be good for McEachran’s career.
Many critics have stated that the midfielder has yet to fulfil his potential so far. At times he has disappointed, but at just 22-years-old he still has the potential to have a very good career.
However, a permanent move to Brentford may represent McEachran’s last chance at proving that he does have the ability to be a decent midfielder in the future. If he fails to perform at Griffin Park then his career may well spiral and he could end up disappearing off the football radar completely in years to come.
McEachran’s may be a cautionary tale to Chelsea’s brightest young stars threatening to break into the first team squad for next season. Some may have potential, but it is very easy for that potential not to be fulfilled and I am sure that Josh McEachran will be one of the first to admit that.
Can Josh McEachran revive his career at Brentford?