The Loan Report turned up its second domestic title winner of the season this weekend whilst, with the season finishing for several teams, John Swift signed off his Brentford stay with another goal, and a fellow Championship player celebrated promotion. We begin, though, with Marco van Ginkel.
The Dutch international midfielder was deemed surplus to requirements by a nondescript Stoke City team who are finishing the season in mid-table mediocrity again and so PSV intervened late in January to bring his goalscoring talents back to the Eredivisie. Three months and eight goals later, he had his hands on the Dutch title after a dramatic final day of the season saw PSV usurp Ajax, who drew against De Graafschap, and retained the crown they secured last year.
To say Van Ginkel has been a driving force behind their surge to glory might be over-doing it slightly but he has made a considerable impact since returning to the Netherlands and his goals put them in the position to go on and retain the title. There has been widespread talk of a more permanent stay and, with Champions League football also guaranteed, that will only pick up over the coming weeks and months.
Things will be different going into this summer for another goalscoring midfielder in Swift, who capped his final Brentford appearance with his seventh goal for the Bees, a solid return in the Championship for a player who hasn’t always been a regular. He came off the bench during the second half of a 5-1 rout at Huddersfield and finished in his typical style, breaking from deep before firing beyond goalkeeper Lloyd Allinson.
With his Chelsea contract due to expire, there will be a number of suitors for the England Under-21 international and with a return to Stamford Bridge looking unlikely, it could be time for him to take the next step in his career for his own good.
At the same time, Tomas Kalas and Middlesbrough were celebrating promotion to the Premier League after a final-day draw with Brighton proved enough to get Aitor Karanka’s men over the line. Kalas has found it hard to nail down a regular place in the team but he has served as a handy utility defender in 26 league appearances all told, and played his part in ending their seven-year exile from the top flight.
Patrick Bamford made a rare substitute appearance for Norwich at home to Manchester United but, afforded just twelve minutes, he made no impact as a 1-0 defeat left the Canaries ever closer to relegation.
Victor Moses played an hour of West Ham’s decidedly below-par 4-1 defeat at home to Swansea, whilst Nathan Aké was against rested by Watford for their 2-0 defeat at Liverpool.
Plymouth geared up for their playoff dates against Portsmouth with a 5-0 win over Hartlepool with Jordan Houghton not involved. He figures to return for the big-stakes clashes next week though.
Vitesse’s season finished with a 2-2 draw away to Twente that ended their hopes of qualifying for Europe next season, came without a single loanee in the starting eleven, and ended with the immediate sacking of interim manager Rob Maas. Maas has proven himself a poor replacement for the impressive Peter Bosz since his departure to Maccabi Tel-Aviv in December and Vitesse’s fall from the upper reaches of the Eredivisie has been wrought with frustration and poor decision-making.
Dominic Solanke missed out through injury but there were late substitute appearances for Lewis Baker and Izzy Brown. Each will have taken a great deal from their stays in Arnhem and the possibility of a return for a second season has been floated, but they too now return to Cobham for their season debriefs.
Todd Kane’s season ended weeks ago but he is making solid immediate progress after surgery to repair his torn anterior cruciate ligament and a summer of hard work awaits.
It was a great weekend for Borussia Mönchengladbach and Andreas Christensen as a 2-1 win over third-placed Bayer Leverkusen all but ensured Champions League qualification for next season. Gladbach have a three-point lead on a trio of chasing teams and are 11 goals or more better off in the chief tie-breaker of goal difference heading into the final game of the campaign, therefore requiring a minor miracle for them to lose out from here.
In and of itself it strengthens the case for Christensen to remain there for a second season, remaining amongst Europe’s elite at a time when Chelsea aren’t, and going from a growing player into a dependable leader and defensive force.
Papy Djilobodji helped Werder Bremen to a clean sheet and a 0-0 draw at Köln that keeps alive their hopes of avoiding a relegation play-off against Nurnburg. A win over Eintracht Frankfurt next weekend will achieve just that.
Jeremie Boga played the second half of Rennes’ 2-0 defeat at Montpellier and would have had an assist had Giovanni Sio not contrived to miss the eventual open goal the pass provided.
Mario Pašalić is close to being able to play again but isn’t expected to feature in Monaco’s must-win season finale next week with Champions League football on the line.
Charly Musonda was substituted a minute from time as Real Betis drew 1-1 at Eibar to mathematically avoid relegation. Christian Atsu, meanwhile, completed his first ninety minutes for Málaga as they lost 1-0 to Celta Vigo.
The Loan Report’s other domestic champion this season, Juan Cuadrado, played ninety minutes for Juventus in a defeat to relegated Verona. Stipe Perica was an unused substitute for Udinese whilst Nathaniel Chalobah wasn’t in Napoli’s squad at Torino.
Sint-Truiden’s season concluded with a 3-0 defeat at home to Charleroi in which Cristian Cuevas got his customary full match and Victorien Angban collected his customary booking in a 75-minute appearance. Cuevas will be leaving Chelsea permanently this summer and has interest from within the Jupiler League, where he has put together a very solid body of work over the last year.
Marko Marin’s continued absence from the Trabzonspor setup saw him miss their 6-0 hammering of Rizespor whilst Kenneth Omeruo is likely to miss Kasimpasa’s trip to Konyaspor on Monday through injury.
Jamal Blackman’s second clean sheet for Ostersunds helped them to a 1-0 win over Kalmar FF and into a very solid mid-table position after eight Allsvenskan matches; Blackman himself being an ever-present thus far.
Alex Davey’s injury kept him out of Stabaek’s 3-1 reverse at the hands of Rosenborg.
Matej Delač’s first start after completing his journey back from a torn ACL ended with a 4-0 defeat away to FK Sloboda having sat out their midweek win over FK Mladost.
Wallace has picked up an injury that will keep him out for two to three weeks, and meant that he missed Gremio’s Copa Libertadores exit at the hands of Rosaria Central.