LOAN INTEREST

We're now over halfway through the season, and the official Chelsea website takes a look at how our players out on loan have been progressing of late…

Lucas Piazon, who moved to Malaga on loan for the remainder of the season in January, made his full debut in their 1-0 weekend win against Athletic Bilbao, after coming on as a substitute in last week's game against Levante, as well as the Copa Del Rey defeat to Barcelona.

The Brazilian played 81 minutes before being withdrawn, and he played an integral role in their victory, laying on the only goal of the game for Javier Saviola.

Michael Essien [pictured above] played the full 90 minutes in Real Madrid's last two league games, Sunday's 2-0 win over Rayo Vallecano and last week's 4-1 victory against Seville. The Ghanaian midfielder was also part of the side which drew 1-1 against Barcelona in the Copa Del Rey last month.

Elsewhere in La Liga, it's been a mixed few weeks for Thibaut Courtois' Atletico Madrid, with wins against Valladolid and Real Betis tempered by defeats against both Athletic Bilbao and Rayo Vallecano.

Courtois has been a regular in league fixtures but was rested for their 2-0 Europa League defeat to Rubin Kazan.

Romelu Lukaku [pictured below] continues to flourish at West Bromwich Albion, with four goals to his name since the turn of the year. The Belgian striker netted in the 2-1 home defeat against Fulham, and also scored a brace in their 3-2 loss at Reading. Most recently, Lukaku came off the bench to score the second goal in their 2-0 win at Liverpool last week.

Romelu Lukaku in action for West Brom

Kenneth Omeruo will return to ADO Den Haag as an Africa Cup of Nations champion after being part of the Nigeria squad which triumphed in South Africa. The young defender came on as a substitute during the Super Eagles' opening game, and impressed to such an extent that he retained his place in the side for the remainder of the competition.

In Germany, Kevin De Bruyne laid on the first of Nils Peterson's two goals in Werder Bremen's 3-2 defeat against SC Freiburg, coming a week after he scored his fifth goal of the campaign in their 4-1 win away at Stuttgart.

Jeffrey Bruma, though, was shown a red card for Hamburg during their impressive 4-1 win away at Borussia Dortmund last week. The Dutchman has made only seven league appearances thus far during the current campaign.

In the Championship, meanwhile, our two young midfielders are gaining invaluable first team experience on a weekly basis.

Nathaniel Chalobah [pictured below] scored in Watford's 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace last week at Vicarage Road, and the 18-year-old has impressed as the defensive midfielder in Gianfranco Zola's side who currently sit in third place. Chalobah was also a second-half substitute for England Under-21s in their recent 5-0 win over Sweden.

Nathaniel Chalobah in action for Watford

Josh McEachran has been a central part of Middlesbrough's midfield since the start of the campaign, with 28 appearances under his belt thus far. The 19-year-old has had to adapt his game slightly given Tony Mowbray's preference for a 4-4-2 formation, and he was played in an unfamiliar role wide on the left in their 4-1 defeat at Crystal Palace on Saturday. McEachran also played for England Under-21s against Sweden.

Right-back Todd Kane [pictured below], who was part of last season's FA Youth Cup-winning squad, joined Blackburn Rovers on loan last month having previously spent a short spell with Preston North End. Kane made four appearances for the Ewood Park side before returning to Stamford Bridge.

Todd Kane in action for Blackburn

In the Eredivisie, both Patrick Van Aanholt and Tomas Kalas featured for Vitesse Arnhem as they overcame Groningen at home at the weekend. Van Aanholt, who has impressed for much of the season, walked away with the Man of the Match award.

Gael Kakuta, also on loan at Vitesse, scored his first goal for the club in last month's 4-1 defeat at AZ Alkmaar, although he missed the weekend's game through injury.

Since moving to Colchester United last month, Billy Clifford has made six appearances for the League One side, more often than not as one of two deep-lying midfielders. Clifford made his debut in the 2-1 home defeat against Scunthorpe United and was part of the side beaten 3-0 at Sheffield United on Saturday.

His loan, originally scheduled to last only one month, has been extended until the end of the season.

His Blues team-mate Sam Walker, also on loan with the Essex-based club, has played every game since moving to the Weston Homes Community Stadium last month.

Patrick Bamford moved to MK Dons on deadline day in January for the second time this season, having previously enjoyed a brief spell there before Christmas, although the striker is yet to feature since returning.

Thorgan Hazard helped Zulte Waregem to a 2-0 win over Beveren at the weekend, impressing in midfield and hitting the crossbar, a week after opening the scoring in a 1-1 draw against KSC Lokeren. His side currently sit in second place, four points behind table-toppers Anderlecht.

Ulises Davila is currently undergoing surgery after sustaining a hand injury for Sabadell, although his absence is not expected to be a long-term one, while Amin Affane made his long-awaited return from injury for Roda JC in the weekend's game against AZ Alkmaar.

Matej Delac, having not played for almost a year, was part of the Inter Zapresic side beaten at NK Zadar at the weekend, while Jhon Pirez played the full 90 minutes for Leganes in a 1-0 win over Getafe B.