Exeter City have signed Dion Rankine from Premier League side Chelsea on a season-long loan, as announced on the club website this evening.
Rankine becomes Exeter’s fourth summer signing as he joins the squad on their pre-season tour of Cornwall, joining Vincent Harper, Jack Aitchison and Reece Cole as new faces at St James Park this summer. The move marks Rankine’s first loan move in his career.
The 20-year-old has been with Chelsea since 2014, after joining from Cambridge United’s academy, but he has not made a senior appearance for the Premier League outfit. He signed his first professional deal with the club in 2019 and has been a regular in the youth teams at the club, most recently part of the development squad in the PL2. Rankine made 26 appearances in that competition, scoring five and assisting four.
The winger also featured four times throughout the EFL Trophy campaign last season. During that time, he provided one assist for the team.
The Grecians lost two key players this summer as Josh Key and Archie Collins departed the club. Collins joined League One rivals Peterborough United, while Key has moved to the Championship with Swansea City. And speaking to the club website regarding the signing of Rankine, Exeter boss Gary Caldwell spoke of the impact the Chelsea youngster could have in replacing Key in the team.
“I think he will bring competition to that right hand side. It’s always pretty difficult to get someone on loan from Chelsea so we’re delighted we’ve been able to do that.
“He’s a very similar profile to Josh Key and he provides a real attacking threat.”
Exeter City have pulled off a great signing here. Rankine is a player who has excelled in every age group so far. And his high performances in the development squad have been rewarded with his first loan spell. With that being said, he is a high-quality player for Exeter, one that could have easily signed for a Championship team if the opportunity was on the table for him. However, with it being Rankine’s first loan spell, there may not be too much pressure on him to perform exceptionally well, but that will not stop him wanting to impress.