It’s not quite the end of the season but the Bank Holiday Weekend issue of The Loan Report will be the last extensive one of 2011-12, with featured players dwindling from here on out.
Kevin De Bruyne’s campaign ended prematurely last weekend through injury, whilst Milan Lalkovic’s was drawn to a close a few weeks earlier after an unsuccessful spell at ADO Den Haag.
Rhys Taylor, Sam Walker and Jeffrey Bruma all joined them this weekend and signed off what must be considered successful enough spells.
Bruma has been a part of a Hamburg team which has grafted hard to retain their place in the Bundesliga in recent weeks, and they affirmed that status with a game to go. The defender played another 90 minutes at right back and was booked, and will now depart on a short club break to Mallorca before going on summer holiday, having been omitted from the Dutch preliminary squad for Euro 2012. He is expected back in Hamburg next season in the second of a two-season loan spell.
Goalkeeper Taylor, meanwhile, may well be back at Rotherham next season, but if he does, it will be on a permanent basis. The Welsh stopper’s agent revealed that there are a number of football league clubs interested in his services and that he will look to move on this summer.
His final appearance of his spell at the Millers was also the club’s last game at Don Valley Stadium, and whilst he was restored to the team after a fortnight out, he was denied a final clean sheet by Adebayo Akinfenwa’s late header.
Fellow goalkeeper Walker completed his stay at Yeovil with a 2-0 loss away to playoff-bound Huddersfield Town and was beaten by two quality finishes on the day. He too could return to the club next season under manager Gary Johnson, who has already signed him twice in his brief professional career and made noises about wanting to do so a third time in 2012-13.
In the Netherlands, Tomas Kalas and Vitesse Arnhem completed their league schedule with a 3-1 defeat against Champions Ajax, but will now play off against NEC Nijmegen hoping for a place in the Europa League.
Patrick van Aanholt was an unused substitute but did feature alongside Kalas in Wednesday’s 2-2 draw at Utrecht.
Ulises Dávila has returned to Chelsea a few weeks early so that the club’s coaching staff can evaluate his progress before the summer holidays. The Mexican forward may be a part of the reserve team squad heading to Hong Kong this week to participate in the famous Soccer Sevens tournament.
Kalas, meanwhile, is close to agreeing a deal to remain in Arnhem next season, with all parties extremely satisfied with the way this season has gone.
Over in Den Haag, Kenneth Omeruo returned from suspension for ADO (after missing a midweek drubbing at PSV), who lost 5-3 to De Graafschap in their last outing of the year, having avoided being involved in the relegation playoffs.
In France, Gael Kakuta played 65 minutes on Thursday in a 2-0 defeat to Auxerre and looked much the same as he has done in recent weeks; tired, lethargic and low on ideas in a struggling team. In a bid to mix things up and stoke some fires to help his team avoid the drop, manager Patrice Carteron decided to leave Kakuta out of Monday’s squad which travelled to Lorient, but he should be involved in the final two games of the season.
Thibaut Courtois has had no such issues though, yet in the crucial weeks of the season has finally allowed one or two errors to creep into his game. A week after a costly rick against Betis, he and his defenders were all at sea against Real Sociedad in stoppage time and allowed Carlos Vela to score an equaliser which effectively ended their chances of Champions League football next season.
He bounced back well and played strongly against Malaga on Saturday to keep that dream alive mathematically with three huge saves, but their fate is out of their hands. The young Belgian will be desperate to finish a sensational season with a win in the Europa League Final.
In Scotland, Ben Gordon featured as usual against Aberdeen and also revealed this week – unsurprisingly so – that he would be keen to make his stay at Rugby Park a permanent one.
To finish up, Josh McEachran didn’t play again (he hasn’t even featured for their reserves) as Mark Gower was picked ahead of him for Swansea’s trip to Old Trafford, and Matej Delac did the same as usual for Ceske Budejovice against Viktoria Zizkov. Reece Loudon’s spell at Potters Bar Town appears to have now ended after seven appearances and two goals.