Billy Gilmour: What lies next for the Chelsea and Scotland midfielder?

A big decision lies ahead for the Blues and Scotland midfielder.

What lies next for Chelsea midfielder Billy Gilmour as his career stands at a crossroads?

The Scotland international was one of four Blues players to have been sent home from the United States as big decisions over their future lie in wait.

Albania striker Armando Broja and midfield duo Tino Anjorin and Harvey Vale are all attracting interest from a number of clubs around the Premier League and Championship.

The next step in Gilmour’s career remains unclear and the 21-year-old will hope to avoid the underwhelming loan spell he spent at Norwich City last season.

Despite the high hopes and excitement that preceded his temporary move to the Canaries, Gilmour failed to find the net in 28 appearances and created just two goals across the campaign.

That led to criticism from Norwich supporters and Gilmour has revealed the impact it made on himself and his family.

Reflecting on his time at Carrow Road, he said: “It was hard. It was also hard for my family. When you’ve got family in the stands and they’re shouting (abuse) it’s never nice, but I would just get my head down. Of course it’s not nice.

“They stopped coming to the games, so it wasn’t nice. They weren’t coming down for games at the weekend, just staying in the house.”

What seems obvious is Gilmour’s immediate future lies away from Stamford Bridge.

The emergence of England star Conor Gallagher, who has returned to Chelsea following a highly successful loan spell at Crystal Palace, has only further hindered Gilmour’s chances of earning a place in Thomas Tuchel’s squad.

So what could lie next for Gilmour as he looks to kickstart a career that promises so much?

A permanent move or temporary switch?

Gilmour turned 21 last month so it’s far too early to write off his career entirely.

But there is a strong argument to suggest he may benefit from cutting his ties with Chelsea on a permanent basis, rather than using the safety net of another loan.

It seems clear that he is still baring the scars of a desperately disappointing loan stint with Norwich but there would no doubt be options for another temporary spell away from Stamford Bridge.

But a permanent move, where Gilmour can focus on his own future path, rather than focusing on impressing his parent club, could provide the clarity required.

A reunion with his former manager?

Could the flame under Gilmour’s career be reignited by the man that gave him his senior debut?

There has been speculation Frank Lampard is keen to take his former midfielder to Everton and make him part of his rebuilding plans at Goodison Park.

This month marks the three-year anniversary of Gilmour’s senior debut in a pre-season friendly against Irish club Bohemians and he was named in a senior squad for a competitive game when he was an unused substitute for the UEFA Super Cup defeat against Liverpool.

Frank Lampard talks to Billy Gilmour while Chelsea manager. Picture: Marc Atkins/Getty Images

A competitive debut followed in September of the same year when Gilmour played for the entire 90 minutes of a 7-1 Carabao Cup win against Grimsby Town and he went on to make 11 appearances in all competitions during his maiden campaign.

A knee injury limited his involvement to just eleven appearances during the 2020/21 season but the midfielder still received praise from Lampard.

Speaking in January last year, the Blues legend said: “He’s young and, like all the youth I talk about in the squad, we need to give him time, but his talent is huge and I’m really happy with where he is.

“Billy is pushing and has been pushing since he made his breakthrough last season against top-level opposition, Liverpool.

“He played brilliantly then, got man of the match and reproduced that against Everton, but then his injury came pretty soon after that. From those moments - and even before - I knew Billy would be a very, very good player for this club.

“His attitude in rehab was exactly what I expected - that was great to see. Billy did everything right, kept himself fit and came straight back in.”

Could Lampard be the man to hand his former midfielder a chance to prove himself at the highest level?

A move back home?

It is five years since Gilmour left Scottish giants Rangers to join Chelsea after the two clubs agreed a fee of around £500,000 as well as a number of add-ons.

The midfielder had made his debut for Rangers Under-20s at the age of 15 in December 2016 and he had been invited to train with their first-team less than a month later.

Gilmour did not make a senior debut for the club, despite being highly-rated by caretaker manager Graeme Murty and his successor Pedro Caixinha.

He has been linked with a move back to Ibrox in recent months and he would benefit from working under current Rangers manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst, a man that graced the highest level with Barcelona, Arsenal and Holland.

The Dutch coach is said to be keen on Gilmour and maybe a return home and playing a key role at a club he already knows will provide the midfielder with a platform to rebuild upon.

Follow a well-worn path at Chelsea?

The Blues have forged strong links with a number of clubs across Europe over the past decade and a whole host of youngsters have gained match experience during loan spells on the continent.

Almost 30 Blues players have spent time on loan at Dutch club Vitesse Arnhem, with the likes of Nemanja Matic, Mason Mount and Dominic Solanke all finding their feet with the Eredivisie outfit.

Mason Mount of Vitesse Arnhem in action during the UEFA Europa League group K match against Nice in December 2017 (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)

That link has softened in recent years and last season was the first in over a decade where Vitesse began a season without a Chelsea player in their squad.

Speaking in September last year, Vitesse technical director Johannes Spors said: “The relationship with Chelsea is still good. What is called: excellent. Nothing has changed in our relationship.

“We still have the same focus and working method and there is frequent contact. We have seen in recent years that a rental construction can have value for both clubs.

“I understand that this is noticeable, but the reason is simple. We have drawn up profiles for new players at Vitesse. We also spoke again with Chelsea about the rental options. But in the end, no match was found this season.”

A loan spell in Holland could offer Gilmour an opportunity to ply his trade away from the bright lights and high intensity environment of the Premier League and rebuild his reputation in a league full of strong, technical players.