Ethan Ampadu has been omitted from Chelsea’s tour to Japan as he tries to complete a loan move.
Frank Lampard says it is important for Ampadu to play regularly in the year ahead and cannot promise him regular game-time at Stamford Bridge.
New manager Lampard, who tried to sign the teenager on loan when he was in charge of Derby last season, is well stocked in central defence and central midfield.
Aston Villa have been interested in Ampadu as they try to inject defensive strength into midfield alongside Jack Grealish and John McGinn.
‘Ethan is not here as we’re looking at the possibility of him going on loan for the season,’ said Lampard after Chelsea arrived in Japan, where they will play pre-season friendlies against J-League champions Kawasaki Frontale on Friday and Barcelona on Tuesday.
‘I tried to sign Ethan on loan at Derby last year, so I’m a big fan, but with the minutes he played last year, I have to think of the bigger picture and the interests of Ethan and of Chelsea.
‘The idea that he could play a lot of games somewhere is good for him and we haven’t brought him here while that is up in the air.’
Ampadu, 18, made five appearances for Chelsea under Maurizio Sarri and made more appearances for Wales than he did for his club last season.
He has been at Stamford Bridge for two years since signing from Exeter.