Chelsea may be forced to ditch their controversial business model of stockpiling players under a new FIFA proposal that would limit the number of players clubs could send on loan.
The new rule would limit clubs to loaning out a maximum of eight players aged 21 or above.
Chelsea currently have an extraordinary 40 players out on loan, including 27 who are 21 or older, such as expensive signings Tiemoue Bakayoko and Michy Batshuayi.
Goalkeeper Matej Delac, now 26, spent eight years on Chelsea’s books and had 10 loan spells before leaving this summer.
The Premier League’s stance is unlikely to be dictated by the whims of one club, so Chelsea could find themselves forced to accept the rule.
If Chelsea wish to fight the proposal they may have to lobby other Premier League clubs to support their position, or they have the right to contact FIFA themselves.
Manchester City have a similar model but only nine players aged 21 or over are currently on loan and the club are not especially worried by the proposition.
FIFA are likely to face the greatest opposition from Italy’s Serie A, where loan deals are common. Juventus, for example, have 40 players on loan.
CHELSEA PLAYERS ON LOAN NOW
Nathan Baker* (Yeovil), Eduardo (Vitesse), Jamal Blackman (Leeds), Bradley Collins* (Burton)
Baba Rahman (Schalke), Jake Clarke-Salter* (Vitesse), Michael Hector (Sheffield Wednesday), Tomas Kalas (Bristol City), Todd Kane (Hull), Matt Miazga (Nantes), Kurt Zouma (Everton), Kenneth Omeruo (Leganes), Trevoh Chalobah* (Ipswich), Dujon Sterling* (Coventry), Reece James* (Wigan), Jay DaSilva* (Bristol City), Ola Aina* (Torino), Fikayo Tomori* (Derby), Fankaty Dabo (Sparta Rotterdam)
Lewis Baker (Leeds), Bekanty Victorien Angban (Metz), Kenedy (Newcastle), Nathan (Atletico Mineiro), Josimar Quintero (Lleida Esportiu), Danilo Pantic (Partizan Belgrade), Mario Pasalic (Atalanta), Ruben Sammut* (Falkirk), Charlie Colkett (Shrewsbury), Jacob Maddox* (Chelternham), Kasey Palmer* (Blackburn), Kyle Scott (Telstar), Mason Mount* (Derby), Tiemoue Bakayoko (AC Milan), Charly Musonda (Vitesse), Kylian Hazard (Cercle Bruges)
Jhoao Rodriguez (Tenerife), Michy Batshuayi (Valencia), Ike Ugbo* (Scunthorpe), Izzy Brown* (Leeds), Tammy Abraham* (Aston Villa) *home grown player aged 21 or under (total: 16).