Chelsea shut out by Vitesse? Why there is still a lot of life in this partnership
COMMENT: As Mason Mount won the Champions League trophy at Dragao in May, a select small group in Arnhem looked with satisfaction at his role in launching Chelsea’s No.19 career …
Now eleven years later, this season is the first that Vitesse Arnhem has not loaned a player to Chelsea. At its peak, Vitesse had no less than seven young Blues. It was in 2013
Armando Broja, now on loan with Southampton, was the 29th Chelsea player to spend time at Arnhem. Like many before him, the move was a success. Mutual success. Broja, like Mount two years before, experienced regular first-team football – and thrived. The 20-year-old striker has scored 11 goals in 34 games, helping his loan club reach the Dutch Cup final last season. It was the theory of this informal alliance put into practice.
And we say informal because this partnership has always been a blink of an eye. The two clubs have no formal agreement – and certainly no signed contract – between them. It is a relationship-based partnership, especially between Vitesse owner Valeri Oyf and his Chelsea counterpart Roman Abramovich. The couple have known each other from college and Oyf – via Millhouse Capital – manages Abramovich’s financial assets. And while it drew criticism from a lot of outsiders, it has been a mutually beneficial relationship.
Speed’s technical director Johannes Spors insists this season’s decision does not indicate the partnership is fading away.
“This is the exception,” Spors insists, “the relationship is what we call: excellent. Nothing has changed. We always have the same orientation and working method and contacts are frequent. We have seen in recent years that a loan program can be of value to both clubs. ”
Nemanja Matic in 2010 – among the first Chelsea players to benefit from a stint at Vitesse
In the case of Vitesse, Broja’s contribution last season is proof of that. And for Chelsea, after Mount’s year at the GelreDome, the payoff is obvious. Indeed, given this season’s decision – at least until January – you wonder if there is a more thoughtful approach from both clubs. Just like Mount, after his year at Arnhem, was then due to spend another 12 months in English football with Frank Lampard’s Derby County. Broja is following the same path, with the Albanian international hoping to build on those 11 goals last season for Southampton this quarter. It could be a new approach from both clubs. Chelsea consider Vitesse to be closer to a finishing school these days. It is significant that between the days of Mount and Broja, Chelsea placed the hapless Charly Musonda at Vitesse. A player dedicated to first-team football with the Blues, if not for his injury problems.
And it goes both ways. As Spors put it, Vitesse is not a dumping ground for Chelsea scraps. They are looking for players who will make a difference, an impact, in the team: “Everything has to do with the positions, the qualities and the arrival of players from other clubs. So the course of events says nothing about our relationship with Chelsea. ”
Born from these 11 years, there is greater sophistication to make the most of this alliance. Speed’s U21 coach Nicky Hofs said that after more than a decade of dealing with Chelsea’s lenders, management have developed know-how on what works and what doesn’t, both in terms of coaching and personality.
About Mount, Hofs said that one of the keys to his success with Vitesse was that his father also moved to the Netherlands: “Despite his age he worked hard in training. Some other guys who come from great clubs sometimes think they’re already there. He kept working hard, that’s what his dad always told him. ”
As Hofs attests, nothing was guaranteed to Mount when he arrived. Nor in Chelsea. The midfielder had to find his own way in the first team: “It’s difficult. You’re from London, you play football at Chelsea. It was still youth football, but now you come in a team first in another country Such imports should adapt.
“I’ve also seen guys from Chelsea who have had more problems with it. It’s just the way you handle it. Mason handled it very maturely, despite his young age.”
Rise, perhaps, set the standard. A bar that Broja was able to reach. But this preseason, Vitesse couldn’t find anyone available who could do something similar. Spos again: “We discussed loan options with Chelsea. But in the end, no match was found.”
No obligation. No requests. Speed is not there for Chelsea to just park their marginal players. And Chelsea know that if they send a young prospect, he will benefit from the experience gained in 11 years of training and managing foreign lenders.
The opposition is there. It always will be. But this partnership has matured. And he continues to do so. The days of 2013 and Cristian Cuevas and Gael Kakuta are long gone. There is greater consideration on both sides of what works and why.
“Winter is the time to talk to Chelsea and explore the possibilities,” said Spors. “There can always be a Chelsea player, but then everything has to adapt sportingly and be useful for both clubs.”
Mason Mount at Dragao in May is proof enough.
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