There’s plenty of reason to celebrate in the final Loan Report of the 2014-15 season as Vitesse secured Europa League qualification whilst one youngster who has not always had an easy ride during his Chelsea career got his hands on a league title this weekend.
Having seen off PEC Zwolle last week, Vitesse were left with a two-legged tie against Heerenveen with a place in the Third Qualifying Round of the Europa League at stake. The last league meeting between the sides in the middle of the season had proved something of a zenith for Peter Bosz’s side as a first-half embarrassment saw a heavy defeat and a few tweaks to a process the manager otherwise had unwavering faith in, as excellently detailed here (in Dutch) by Michiel De Hoog.
One of those changes was to field Bertrand Traore as a centre-forward and his 17 goals overall helped fire Vitesse into the situation they found themselves in this week. He was joined in the starting line-up for both legs by Josh McEachran, who has established himself as a regular since the start of March, and Wallace, who left an impression against Zwolle and was utilised in an advanced role on the right wing.
The first leg finished in a fair 2-2 draw; Vitesse playing well for long spells but leaving something to be desired. Traore claimed an assist for the first goal, giving Vako Qazaishvili a tap-in amidst confusion caused by two balls on the pitch at the same time.
The second leg looked to be going the same way, tied at 2-2 late in the second half, but with extra time looming, three goals in a seven-minute spell got the job done. Traore won a penalty and made another goal whilst Wallace made one and Vitesse now take their place in the Europa League’s formative phases for next season hoping to go one better than they did the last time they made it that far. Then, with Tomas Kalas and Patrick van Aanholt amongst their number, they were dumped out by Petrolul Ploiesti of Romania.
It would be ideal for any potential loan prospects if they were to be assured of six group stages matches and it may be that players are sent there earlier than anticipated in a bid to strengthen the squad for the challenges ahead in July and August.
He conceded a solitary goal on the final day of the season to prevent him from reaching the milestone of ten clean sheets in not many more appearances than that, but Matej Delač can lay claim to being the only Chelsea loanee of the season to be a domestic champion. His arrival at FK Sarajevo in February helped the capital city side kick on and claim a first title in eight years and, with this being his second spell at the club, he could well be inclined to stay there beyond the end of June with the intention of helping them go as far in Europe as possible.
Marco van Ginkel signed off his debut season in Milan with a strong performance in a 3-1 win at Atalanta. It wasn’t the most auspicious starts for the Dutchman at a troubled club but he came into his own later in the season and was arguable their most dependable midfield performer for long stretches.
Stipe Perica played the first half of Udinese’s final outing away to already-relegated Cagliari without troubling the scorers, and Mohamed Salah only lasted 28 minutes of Fiorentina’s game against Chievo before succumbing to the injury that forced him out of last week’s match early. He did however find enough time to weigh in with an assist.
It’s still technically the 14-15 season but business is being done early with Christian Atsu having already secured his home for next term. He’ll link up with newly-promoted Bournemouth hoping to fare better than he did at Everton over the last ten months.