To round up the 2012-13 youth football season at Chelsea, we’re reviewing every single one of the Chelsea youngsters currently on the books who have spent time out on loan during the campaign. Here, we focus on Matej Delac.
Club: Vitória SC (Portugal), Inter Zapresic (Croatia)
Appearances: 1 (Vitória), 16 (Inter)
Delac’s young yet problematic career has sort of some full circle this season as he’s ended up back at the club Chelsea signed him from. Returning to Inter Zapresic in his homeland was really the only sensible choice he could make after a series of disastrous loan spells. Failure to earn regular playing time in the first half of this season in Portugal at Vitória Guimaraes merely added to the woes experienced at Vitesse Arnhem and Dynamo Ceske Budejovice.
Fortunately, Inter welcomed him back with open arms and entrusted him with the position he left in 2010. With the club embroiled in a relegation battle, he was thrown back in at the deep end but picked up his game astoundingly quickly for a goalkeeper out of action for so long, and began to remind people why he was so highly rated in the first place.
Inter were relegated on a dramatic last day, but it was certainly nothing to do with Delac, who was involved in their best spell of form all season, and he’ll certainly be moving on to more notable things than the Croatian second tier next season.
Delac may never develop into the star number one he was once touted as, but it’s still very early in his career. His prospects for playing in England will take a considerable turn for the better this summer when Croatia joins the European Union, meaning he will not require a work permit to play here, and perhaps that could be a turning point for him. He could remain with Chelsea as a backup/developmental keeper, or he could find himself a loan move within the domestic game. It will be the last year of his Blues deal, so it’s a big decision for him.