For the fourth week in succession, and the fifth time in the last six, we’re able to kick off the Loan Report with a goal scored by an English Chelsea prospect. And, for the first time this season, we lead off with the exploits of Nathaniel Chalobah.
Chalobah has had to overcome the unexpected disappointment of being denied a loan move to French club Bordeaux following a curious administrative decision by FIFA to class his Under-21 appearance for Chelsea versus Manchester City in August as a competitive fixture. That combined with his disappointing stay at Burnley meant he has already represented two clubs this season and can only play on loan at a lower league English team, where short-term loans have long-since earned a FIFA exemption.
He duly joined Reading and marked his home debut yesterday with a wonderfully-taken goal, hooking the ball into the top corner without breaking stride. It was the finish of a player of undeniable ability and will do wonders for his confidence after a demoralising season to date.
Ryan Bertrand was sent off for Southampton against Swansea for a poor challenge on Modou Barrow and will now serve a one-match ban.
Lewis Baker earned his first start for Sheffield Wednesday in their midweek goalless draw at home to Birmingham and was also included from the off at Reading on Saturday, when he went up against Chalobah. He was useful in spells in both outings and might have scored a goal in each, but Wednesday are in the lowest ten goalscoring teams in the country, meaning expectations are even higher for him to impress upon their supporters.
Middlesbrough went within a point of the Championship summit on Saturday after winning 1-0 away to Brentford. Patrick Bamford played a key part in the victory, showing his trademark alertness and hard work by latching onto a ball over the top to win a penalty as he was felled by goalkeeper David Button. He put in a proper shift in a hard game for Boro, earning a booking for a first-half foul, but this display will not only have further endeared him to manager Aitor Karanka but also impressed upon the Chelsea hierarchy for the relentless manner in which he sought to work for the team from the front.
Kenneth Omeruo played the full match at centre-back and was also booked in a shaky first half, but he got stronger later in the game and made some crucial clearances at the death. Tomas Kalas, unfortunately, remains sidelined through injury.
Todd Kane and Nottingham Forest suffered a late home defeat to Millwall with the full-back getting a customary ninety minutes to his name.
Islam Feruz was not in Blackpool’s squad for the victory over Brighton, and nor was Alex Davey for League One Scunthorpe as they won 4-1 at Leyton Orient. John Swift did start for Swindon in their 2-0 defeat at Sheffield United though, whilst Alex Kiwomya was an unused substitute for Barnsley in their 2-1 victory over Port Vale having previously started every match of his loan spell at Oakwell.
Following their embarrassing capitulation at the hands of Heerenveen last weekend, Vitesse rang the changes ahead of their midweek cup tie against Groningen. That meant Wallace and Josh McEachran were relegated to the bench for the trip to Euroborg, which was going alright until Guram Kashia’s red card on the hour mark, at which point 0-0 gave way to a 4-0 exit from the competition.
The Chelsea pair were once again substitutes for the weekend home match against Ajax, although Peter Bosz was able to welcome Bertrand Traore back into the team after his African Cup of Nations exploits. The Burkinabe forward netted twice against De Godenzonen in the cup before Christmas and played well in his 83 minutes here, eventually giving way to Uros Djurdjevic, who then scored the winning goal in a 1-0 upset victory.
Going forward, Stipe Perica will be appearing in this section of the Loan Report rather than the Netherlands segment after completing an eighteen-month loan move to Udinese. The Croatian forward has been given the number nine shirt at the Stadio Friuli and whilst he wasn’t registered in time to feature this weekend, he should get some playing time early on as the Zebretti get a good look at a guy they’ve made a fair commitment to in taking until the end of next season.
Marco van Ginkel played the last ten minutes of AC Milan’s Coppa Italia match against Lazio in midweek and played 45 minutes from the start in their win against Parma on Sunday.
The Bundesliga returned from a lengthy winter hiatus this weekend and it did so with a loanee clash as Oriol Romeu’s Stuttgart hosted Thorgan Hazard’s Borussia Mönchengladbach. The Spaniard played the full match whilst Gladbach were able to eke out a 1-0 win without calling upon the services of the Belgian international, who they are still negotiating a longer-term stay at the club for.
Lucas Piazon was a late second-half substitute for Eintracht Frankfurt as they went down to a heavy defeat in Freiburg.
Gael Kakuta’s ninety minutes were not enough for Rayo Vallecano on Friday night as they went down 2-1 at home to Deportivo La Coruna. The Frenchman has impressed for most of the season but, as Rayo’s form has struggled for consistency since the start of December, so has he.
Elche have struggled for results period and although Mario Pašalić earned another start (and another full outing), their 1-0 loss at Granada leaves them firmly in the relegation zone.
Marko Marin played 59 minutes for Anderlecht against Zulte Waregem.
Uli Dávila began his Vitória Setúbal career as a substitute for their trip to Gil Vicente and made his debut as a 55th minute substitute in the 1-1 draw.
Despite keeping a clean sheet in their first win in three months last weekend, Matej Delač was dropped from the Arles-Avignon team and they duly lost 1-0 at Sochaux.