Chelsea defender Kenneth Omeruo has told the BBC it is no longer his “immediate priority” to play for the club as he searches for a permanent way out of the “frustrating” mass loan system.
Omeruo, playing on loan in Turkey with Alanyaspor this season, has yet to make a single first-team appearance for Chelsea since signing from Standard Liege in January 2012, instead being sent out to ADO Den Haag, Middlesbrough and another Turkish club in Kasimpasa.
Kurt Zouma and Nathan Ake are ahead of Omeruo in the pecking order, while coach Antonio Conte will welcome back Andreas Christensen from his loan spell at Borussia Monchengladbach as well as pursue defensive reinforcements in the transfer market this summer.
Omeruo, 23, has made 115 league appearances over the past five years and established himself as a Nigeria international, but now wants to find a permanent club where he can settle.
“It might happen that I get to play for Chelsea but it is no longer my immediate priority,” Omeruo told BBC Sport.: “You have no idea how frustrating it is to always go out on loan.”
Omeruo is one of 37 loanees currently listed on Chelsea’s website, and he is not the first to voice his disillusionment with the club’s controversial player development model. In September, midfielder Lucas Piazon, on loan at Fulham, said that the mass loan system “makes no sense.”
Earlier this year, Eddie Newton, in charge of the welfare of Chelsea’s loan players, insisted he is “very proud” of the “due care and process” afforded all of those developing at other clubs, with a designated team of coaches, analysts and medical staff monitoring from Cobham.
Long-term loanees Patrick Bamford, Stipe Perica and Marko Marin were sold by Chelsea this season, and Omeruo added that he might have followed suit.
“Last season, I had an opportunity to go to one of Turkey’s biggest clubs [Besiktas] but the deal collapsed two days to the end of the transfer window,” he said. “This season I was lucky I could find a place where I could still play because they want me to come to Alanyaspor.
“My priority is to play at the top, to find a place where I get to play regularly. Next season will be interesting because I’m looking to be in one of the top leagues, so we’ll see what happens.”
Omeruo signed a new contract with Chelsea in August that commits him to the club until June 2019.