Chelsea's relationship with Vitesse's pretty well documented. Every season we send a bunch of players on loan to the Dutch club where they pick up valuable experience duking it out near the top-end of the table in a mid-level league.
It's been a fairly beneficial arrangement for us so far, with a combination of smart loans resulting in the Dutch club receiving dependable youngsters, and general assistance from the Blues ensuring our influence in those parts has only grown since we 'moved on' from PSV and turned to Vitesse instead.
Anyway, while the full extent and ramifications of Chelsea's presence there are open to interpretation, what we do know now, thanks to a set of quotes in Voetbal International by Chelsea scout and Vitesse inside man Piet de Visser
Chelsea heeft mij om een advies gevraagd en ik zit binnenkort met voorzitter Merab Jordania om tafel. Er vindt momenteel al overleg plaats tussen Vitesse en Chelsea, net zoals dat gebeurde toen Fred Rutten werd aangesteld. Destijds heb ik aangegeven dat Rutten spelers beter zou maken en dat heeft hij ook gedaan
Chelsea wilde deze zomer ook niet dat Rutten zou vertrekken, alleen had Fred moeite met de organisatie
Jammer. Nu kijken we verder. Er is naar mijn advies gevraagd en ik heb twee namen doorgegeven. Namen van Hollandse trainers, mannen die bewezen hebben jeugdspelers beter te maken. Nee, ik kan in dit stadium geen namen geven. Ik denk wel dat de club mijn adviezen opvolgt.
Lots of juicy quotes in there I can't catch a word of, but never fear — the translate machine's here!
Chelsea has asked me for an opinion and I'm soon to president Merab Jordania table. There is currently already taking place between Vitesse and Chelsea, just as happened when Fred Rutten was appointed. At that time I indicated that Rutten players would make better and that he has done.
Chelsea did not want this summer that would leave Rutten, Fred only had trouble with the organization.
Too bad. Now we look further. There is, in my opinion and I have asked two names passed. Names of Dutch trainers, men who have proven to make. Youth players better No, I can not at this stage give any names. I think that the club follow my advice.
The most significant thing to take away from this, is the fact that a Chelsea employee is actively consulting a feeder club in top-level administrative decision-making, shedding light on just how deep our involvement at the club goes.
Having a ready taker for young talent is always excellent, but a direct line to the club's owner means the Stamford Bridge brass effectively controls affairs up in the Dutch north-west, as indicated by de Visser's inputs proving vital in bringing about the appointment of their last manager and quite possibly, their next one.
While there's an argument or two to be made about just how intrusive a level of involvement is acceptable for any club in another's affairs, what's good to know is that in Vitesse, Chelsea have a virtual 'test-room' of sorts where we're not only going to be able to send players, but also tailor the managerial occupancy to, one would imagine, suit the developmental needs of our loanees the best.
In the past, de Visser's often gushed about the fantastic academy Vitesse possess. His quotes today should also make many of us a whole lot better about our chances with some of their prospects making the move to London, as I can see Marco van Ginkel and Wilfried Bony are players that've caught the fancy of quite a few around these parts.
The relationship between the two clubs is set to continue in the same positive vein it has for a couple of years now in the coming season too. They're undoubtedly an important proposition for us, not just because Netherlands has proved a premier destination for breaking graduates fresh out of academies into the grindingly competitive, professional world of football, but also because Vitesse are a club who consistently challenge for a spot in the top quarter of the table, can readily offer European football more often than not, and have the added potential of giving back to Chelsea in the long run.
Oh well, as long as the club knows what they're going, there's every reason to believe this relationship's set to be an unadulterated, controversy-free win-win. Onward then!