Chelsea winger Charly Musonda signs for Celtic on 18-month loan deal

LONDON -- Chelsea's Charly Musonda has joined Celtic on an 18-month loan deal, the clubs have announced.

Musonda, 21, stayed at Stamford Bridge in an attempt to break into the first team rather than leaving on loan last summer, and signed a new contract until 2022 in December. But he has since made just seven appearances for Chelsea in all competitions, only two of which were starts.

Chelsea hope that working under former Blues academy coach Brendan Rodgers will kickstart Musonda's senior career at Celtic, who have developed Virgil van Dijk and Victor Wanyama into Premier League starters in recent years and currently have Manchester City starlet Patrick Roberts on loan.

"The Belgian Under-21 internationalist has been a much sought-after player in this transfer window, with many of Europe's top clubs keen to take him on loan," a Celtic club statement said of the move.

"However, both the player and his parent club believe that his football development will be best served at Celtic Park under the guidance of Brendan Rodgers."

Musonda joined Chelsea from Anderlecht along with older brothers Tika and Lamisha in June 2012, signing professional terms with the club just over a year later.

During his time in the Blues' academy, Musonda won back-to-back FA Youth Cups, the Under-21 Premier League in 2013-14 and the UEFA Youth League the following season, establishing himself as one of the brightest prospects in a team that also included Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Dominic Solanke and Tammy Abraham.

A loan to Real Betis in January 2016 began brightly, but after extending his stay for the 2016-17 season Musonda found himself out of manager Gus Poyet's first-team plans, making just one appearance before being recalled to Chelsea in January 2017.

There has been more frustration for Musonda since his return to Chelsea, and in October the Belgian was required to apologise for a deleted Instagram post which appeared to criticise his lack of first-team opportunities under Conte.

Speaking in a news conference on Monday, Rodgers said: "I think there were up to 24 clubs interested in taking Charly, so for him to want to come here and for Chelsea to be happy for him to come is a great coup for us. It's also a great opportunity for Charly to come into one of the great clubs and get that opportunity to show his talents.

"He's a really exciting player, very dynamic, wonderful ability on the ball. He works very hard and loves his football. He's a bright player.

"This year we've had a number of injuries to our creative players, so him coming in will add great creativity to our game and I'm really excited to work with him."