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An English Experiment In Holland

Chelsea's link with Dutch club Vitesse Arnham has been well documented and in equal measures applauded and derided. It has been a vit...


Chelsea's link with Dutch club Vitesse Arnham has been well documented and in equal measures applauded and derided. It has been a vital proving ground for a number of Chelsea's players over the years giving our young players a chance to play games in a good league at a high level and develop their abilities. Only one player so far has gone on loan to Vitesse and has returned to feature on a regular basis for Chelsea and that is Nemanja Matic even though that was via Benfica.

Whilst that may not seem very good the other aspect to this and it the one that gets overlooked with regularity is that only a very small percentage of players we have (academy trained or brought in to go on loan) will make it with us. The level we play at demands the highest quality of player, the fact that Courtois is really the only player to successfully make it through the loan journey to feature for us as a first team regular shows the level required.

What Chelsea are doing is to develop a group of very talented young players in house and at various loan clubs to help them reach their potential. A small percentage will make it at Chelsea and the rest we will move on usually for a profit. What we are also seeing is that the players that do move on are playing a good level of football and developing good players is what this process is about and catching the best for our own first team.

This season we are seeing Chelsea use the Vitesse Arnhem link in a new way. They are still using it as they have done my bringing in foreign youngsters signed who either need games or are not eligible for a work permit, this season those players are Danilo Pantic and the brazilian Nathan. However Chelsea are trying something new this season and have sent out a small group of their best English youngsters to spend the season at Vitesse.

Now sending English players abroad for a loan is fairly unusual but it is not the first time Chelsea have done it and it not even the first time Chelsea have done it with Vitesse as both Josh McEachran and Sam Hutchinson have spent time there. The difference this time is that we have sent 3 players and the three that have gone are some of our brightest prospects in Baker, Brown and Solanke. This is something new and it is a very interesting prospect for the coming season. A loan in another country could be vital development that a lot of English youngsters do not get, also to play in a top league in Europe with tough vital games every week is amazing experience.

With the 3 together there is the hope that they will be less homesick with friends to rely on help them settle and be comfortable at Vitesse. Straight away we have seen both Baker and Brown play the 2 games in the Europa League qualifier against Southampton. Whilst many people who watched those games may not have thought much of Baker and Brown's performances this is why they are on loan. They will learn from these experiences and with time will grow into the loan and have more of an impact, once that happens then their ability will come through and the development will happen.

Solanke's move there is even more interesting, still not even 18 the fact that he is even going on loan so early in his development is a surprise, for me though I believe that he will be a success there. Vitesse badly need a forward and Solanke can take the opportunity to get some amazing experience to kick him on and do not be surprised to see him pick up a very good goal tally by the end of the season.

The key point to these loans is that without a lot of money to bring players in Vitesse need to play these boys as was evident in the Southampton games which means the games time they need they will get if they are able to deliver enough.

Should this prove a success for Chelsea and Vitesse this season it opens up a new avenue for us to give our homegrown youngsters a valuable loan move where they can be comfortable and develop well, something that can prove hard to get in the English lower leagues.

This season Vitesse will be a club to watch with interest.

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