On Thursday FIFA announced that a cap to the number of loans in and out of football clubs would be introduced in an attempt to stop clubs hoarding talent.
As of 2024, teams will be allowed to send just six players out on loan per season, though exemptions will be made for U21 players and academy graduates.
The news has sent tremors around Europe, particularly to the richest clubs who have had a tendency to stockpile young players and farm them out to their feeder teams.
Chelsea have arguably been the biggest culprits in recent years, using their vast wealth to hoard treasured wonderkids like Smaug the dragon and his mountain of gold.
While their actions are perfectly above board, the system is clearly being abused and news of reform will be music to the ears for the overwhelming majority.
Chelsea have even developed a recent habit of signing players with zero intention of ever actually using them in the first team, before sending them out on a series of loans to try and garner a decent re-sale price.
A significant number of their loanees have been sent to Vitesse Arnhem in the Eredivisie, who effectively became Chelsea’s finishing school after agreeing to a ‘feeder’ role in 2010.
The collaboration has undoubtedly benefitted the Dutch side, who have enjoyed a sustained run in European football over the past decade, but what about Chelsea and the army of youngsters they’ve shipped over there in the past decade?
Here, Daily Star Sport takes a look at every player the Blues sent to Vitesse (29 by our count) and how they’ve fared since.
Nemanja Matic’s loan move to Vitesse preceded a transfer to Benfica in 2011 – in a move which saw David Luiz move the other way – but Chelsea bought him back three years later and the big Serb played an integral part in two Premier League title victories.
He was sold to Manchester United for £35million in 2017 where he resides to this day.
Slobodan Rajkovic signed for the Blues in 2005, but work permit problems saw him shipped out on loan to Holland a number of times before following fellow countryman Matic through the door at Vitesse in 2010.
Permit issues persisted upon his return and Rajkovic was sold in 2011. Underwhelming spells in Germany and Italy followed and the 32-year-old currently plies his trade in the Serbian Super Liga with TSC.
Matej Delac emerged from an academy which produced the likes of Luka Modric, Dejan Lovren and Vedran Corluka, so hopes were high when Chelsea signed the 17-year-old Croatian goalkeeper.
He was immediately loaned to Vitesse, but failed to make a single appearance for the club and headed out on eight more unsuccessful loans before eventually being released on a free transfer in 2018.
Delac signed for Danish side AC Horsens, and has been their number one keeper for the past three seasons now.
Should teams like Chelsea and Manchester City be allowed to have ‘feeder’ clubs? Let us know what you think in the comments section below…
Patrick van Aanholt
Patrick van Aanholt spent three successive seasons at Vitesse, and despite failing to make the grade at Chelsea, he’s gone on to forge a successful Premier League career.
The Dutch defender – who has also played 19 times for his country – joined Sunderland in 2014, before switching to Crystal Palace two-and-a-half years later. He left English football in the summer and currently plays for Turkish side Galatasaray.
Tomas Kalas had a Premier League debut to remember, putting in a stellar shift at the back as Chelsea beat Liverpool 2-0 at Anfield in April 2014 to dash the Reds’ title hopes. You know, the ‘Gerrard slip’ match.
Sadly for the Czech international, that was about as good as it got. He stayed in Chelsea’s loan labyrinth for another five seasons before eventually being sold to Bristol City in 2019, where he resides to this day.
The Mexican wonderkid is one of a number of players on this list never to feature for Chelsea. Following unsuccessful loan spells in Spain and Portugal, Davila was sold to Mexican side Santos Laguna in 2016.
After a brief stint in India three years later, the midfielder moved to Australia’s A-League, and turns out for Macarthur FC these days.
Gael Kakuta was once heralded as the future of Chelsea football club after arriving as a 16-year-old from Lens in 2007, but the bloom had come off the rose by the time he joined Vitesse following a couple of disappointing loan spells in the Premier League with Bolton and Fulham .
His move to Stamford Bridge ended up earning the club a transfer ban (though it was lifted on appeal), and Kakuta was eventually sold to Sevilla in 2015. The winger later moved to the Chinese Super League before returning to his native France in 2019, and is now back where it all started, with Lens.
Just like with Kakuta, Chelsea pinned a lot of their hopes and dreams on Bertrand Traore, and funnily enough, his move to west London earned the club another transfer ban.
The Burkino Faso international had a productive two-year loan spell with Vitesse before briefly challenging for a place in Chelsea’s side under Guus Hiddink in 2016.
Following another successful stint in Holland – this time with Ajax – Traore was sold to Ligue 1 side Lyon where he spent three solid seasons before being bought by Aston Villa in 2020.
But despite a bright start to his career at Villa Park, the forward has fallen down the pecking order this season and is struggling for minutes under new manager Steven Gerrard.
Lucas Piazon epitomised Chelsea’s abuse of the loan system. The Brazilian joined in 2012 with a promising reputation before being shipped out to seven different clubs in six different leagues across Europe.
The 28-year-old finally left Stamford Bridge in January last year, and now plays for Braga in Portugal.
Chilean full-back Cristian Cuevas spent a pointless season on loan with Vitesse after signing for Chelsea in 2013, and quickly fell victim to the club’s monotonous loan cycle.
He was eventually released in 2017 and joined Chilean side Huachipato, where his form over the last few seasons has earned him a cap for his country.
The Chelsea academy graduate actually retired from football in 2010 due to a recurring knee injury, but changed his mind a year later following a successful rehab. He joined Vitesse in 2013, before being loaned out to Sheffield Wednesday, who he would joined permanently the following season.
Hutchinson swapped Yorkshire for Cyprus in 2020, but returned to Wednesday a few months later.
Chelsea had little intention of actually using Christian Atsu when they signed him on the cheap from Porto in 2013, so his loan move to Vitesse was little more than a piece of advertising on the Blues’ part.
Despite underwhelming loan spells with Everton, Bournemouth and Malaga shortly after, Chelsea sold Atsu to Newcastle for nearly double the price they bought him for. Success … I guess.
The Ghana international spent the next three seasons at St James’ Park before joining Saudi Arabian side Al-Raed last year.
Josh McEachran looked to have the world at his feet when he burst onto the scene as a 17-year-old in 2010, but Chelsea’s managerial merry-go-round slowed his development significantly.
Carlo Ancelotti was happy to give the youngster minutes but when his replacement Andre Villas-Boas thought differently, he was shipped out on loan and never got a chance in the first team again.
He joined Vitesse in 2014, but by then all hope of him fulfilling his potential had faded and the midfielder was sold to Brentford a year later. McEachran signed for MK Dons last year and has been a regular fixture for the League One side ever since.
A lot was expected of flying full-back Wallace, who had caught the eye for Fluminense in Brazil, and he was even loaned out to Inter Milan after signing for the Blues.
But after playing just four times for the Italian giants, he joined Vitesse on loan where he got a little more game time. Two further loans to Europe followed before Wallace was released, whereupon he returned to his native Brazil and signed for Figueirense, where he remains to this day.
Lewis Baker recently hit the headlines after making his second appearance for Chelsea an incredible eight years after debuting .
The Englishman spent two very successful seasons with Vitesse, and was earmarked for a place in Chelsea’s side upon his return. But like for so many before him, the opportunity never materialised.
He spent the next four seasons out on loan, and finally left the club last week after signing for Stoke City.
Another Brazilian who fell through the cracks without making any sort of impact, Nathan left Chelsea in 2020, despite a promising two-year loan spell at Vitesse.
He signed for Atletico Mineiro back in his native Brazil, but has recently joined Fluminense on loan.
Looking back, it was silly of Serbian midfielder Danilo Pantic to ever leave Partizan. He joined Chelsea in 2015, but found little success during various loan spells until he was sent back to his former club two years later.
Two more insipid loan moves followed before he was sold back to the Serbian side. What a waste of time and energy that was.
West Brom were royally cheesed off when Chelsea pinched their brightest young star in 2013, though the Englishman was never even given a look in at Stamford Bridge.
He played 22 times for Vitesse, but the goals he scored so readily at youth level dried up. Brown stayed on Chelsea’s books until 2021 when he signed Preston North End, but the 25-year-old has failed to make much of an impact at Deepdale thus far.
Dominic Solanke was one of the rare few who managed to leave Chelsea very still a prized asset. After starring in a Blues’ all-star youth team featuring the likes of Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Andreas Christensen and Tammy Abraham, Solanke was sent to Vitesse for further development.
But after refusing to stay in the club’s loan army a year later, he joined Liverpool when his contract ran out in 2017. Sadly, his move to Anfield didn’t work, but Bournemouth paid £19 million for his services 18 months later.
The striker has been on fire in the Championship, netting 18 goals in 25 games so far this season.
American defender Matt Miazga joined the Blues in January 2016, and quickly joined Vitesse six months later after featuring just twice for the London club.
He spent two seasons in Holland before being shipped out to Nantes, Reading and Anderlecht, and the 26-year-old is currently on his fifth loan spell at Alaves in La Liga.
Mukhtar Ali joined the Chelsea academy in 2008 put finally got his break in first team football after being loaned out to Vitesse in 2016.
He made just six appearances for the club before joining them permanently a year later. Though in 2019, the youngster moved to Saudi Arabia – the country of his birth – to join Al-Nassr, where he remains to this day.
Other than Matic, Mason Mount is the only player on this list to have made any sort of lasting impact in Chelsea’s side.
Mount has gone from strength to strength since returning from his stint at Vitesse. He joined Frank Lampard’s Derby County in 2018 and reached the Championship play-off final before following his manager back to Chelsea the following season.
The 23-year-old has developed into one of the finest midfielders in the land, and is a staple in both his club and international sides.
The midfielder guided Chelsea to a Champions League triumph last year and was even nominated for the Ballon d’Or.
Dabo followed Mount through the door at Vitesse, but despite a strong year there, he failed to carry any of that momentum back to England with him.
He was loaned back to Holland, this time to division two side Sparta Rotterdam, and would join Coventry City permanently a year later.
Charlie Colkett spent a disappointing season with Vitesse before taking the brave decision to join Swedish side Östersund in 2019.
Though he terminated his contract with the club earlier this month and signed with League One side Cheltenham Town until the end of the season.
The 24-year-old is currently on his sixth loan spell away from Chelsea – the most promising of which was the year he spent with Vitesse.
The defender is having a strong season with Coventry City in the Championship and there are rumours that the move might be made permanent soon.
Eduardo joined Chelsea at the ripe old age of 34, filling in as their third-choice goalkeeper behind Thibaut Courtois and Asmir Begovic.
As such, first-team opportunities were more-or-less off the cards and he joined Vitesse two years later to get some minutes under his belt.
The veteran keeper, who has 36 caps for Portugal lest we forget, joined former team Braga in 2019 before retiring from the game a year later.
The highly-rated Charly Musonda joined Vitesse on a two-year loan deal in 2018, only to injure his posterior cruciate ligament almost immediately.
He’s missed much of the last three seasons after undergoing a series of surgeries, and recently announced that he won’t be extending his contract at Chelsea, which expires this summer.
Jamal Blackman was on Chelsea’s senior books for a decade before eventually leaving last summer.
The goalkeeper joined Vitesse in 2019, but failed to make single appearances for the Dutch side. Two more loans followed before Blackman headed to the US, signing for Los Angeles FC.
Armando Broja spent last season at Vitesse, scoring 11 goals in 34 games, but has taken his game to new heights after joining Southampton on loan.
Saints boss Ralph Hasenhuttl has already spoken publicly about making the Albanian’s move permanent – though Chelsea are understandably reluctant to let him leave.
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