In the final edition of The Loan Report for this season, we’ll catch up with the remaining Chelsea loanees, most definitely headlined by a Europa League winner.
Thibaut Courtois turned 20 on Friday, two days after keeping his 21st clean sheet of the season in the biggest game of his career to date. Atlético Madrid defeated Athletic Bilbao 3-0 in Bucharest to lift a second European trophy in three years, and they did so deservedly.
The big Belgian certainly played his part, making a string of impressive saves throughout the match to preserve his team’s defensive perfection, whilst Falcao caused havoc at the other end.
You can see the highlights of the game here:
He returned to domestic action on Sunday no longer a teenager with Atlético’s hopes of qualifying for next season’s Champions League out of their hands, with Malaga firmly in the ascendancy.
Another Falcao goal ensured three points (which incidentally relegated Villarreal) but Malaga did their bit too, meaning Los Colchoneros finished fifth and will be defending their Europa League crown next season.
Elsewhere, the most notable outings of the week went to Tomas Kalas, who featured for Vitesse Arnhem in both legs of their Europa League Playoff Semi Finals against NEC Nijmegen.
NEC won a controversial home leg 3-2 in which Kalas had an up and down performance, but the Arnhem side won 2-0 on Sunday to set up a final showdown with RKC Waalwijk (again over two legs) for a place in next season’s European competition.
Patrick van Aanholt remained an unused substitute in both matches.
There was no playing time for Josh McEachran at Swansea in the final round of Premier League matches, nor was there for Gael Kakuta at Dijon in the penultimate matchday for Ligue Une. Kakuta has been left out of recent matches for reasons manager Patrice Carteron has not been thoroughly public with, although it’s understood that it’s less about Kakuta and more about the team attempting to stave off the threat of relegation.
Matej Delac’s Ceske Budejovice lost 3-0 to Sparta Praha with the Croatian no closer to action, but he reminded everyone of his existence this week with an interview to his national press.
He revealed that the decision to play in the Gambrinus Liga was suggested to him by Petr Cech, who considered his young protege to be more than capable of holding his own at that level.
As we well know now, Budejovice have decided against using Delac’s talents, a decision Cech is apparently baffled by. In any event, he will return to Chelsea in the summer before making a decision on where to play next season.
Finally, Ben Gordon signed off in Scotland with a 2-1 win for Kilmarnock away to Dunfermline, but it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him back at Rugby Park again next season on a permanent basis.
With only Kalas likely to be involved in action over the next seven days (Kakuta and Van Aanholt are unlikely to feature), this will be the last Loan Report of the season. It’s not the end of the coverage though, with a full section of the upcoming review of the season dedicated to those who have spent portions of the 11/12 campaign away from Stamford Bridge.