There was an article today in a dutch newspaper suggesting that Chelsea may be sending three more players on loan to Vitesse Arnhem as they continue to challenge for the Eredivisie title*. On the surface, it makes loads of sense. Chelsea have a great relationship with Vitesse, and the Dutch club has been doing an excellent job of providing an opportunity for the kids to get some valuable minutes.
*Big hat tip to Maikel Berends for spotting this and making sure we saw it.
There is a bit of question on this one though, as most of Chelsea's best young players are already out on loan. With that in mind, I thought I'd do a little bit of pondering about just who it is that Vitesse may be taking if this report is accurate:
Currently at Cobham:
As mentioned earlier, Chelsea have already sent most of their better prospects out on loan. There are a trio of guys that are certainly ready to contrinute to Vitesse playing at the U21 level though, and one of them makes a lot of sense. Lucas Piazon would seem to be a perfect fit in this instance. Vitesse have been struggling to score, and Piazon is a promising attacking player.
Opportunity for Lucas to get minutes here would seem slim this spring (especially if we add in January), and the club has certainly shown a willingness to gamble with depth so that youngsters can get some minutes abroad. Piazon seems a near perfect fit for Vitesse, and he's a good enough player to start for them almost immediately.
Billy Clifford and George Saville would both also be nice fits, but being English, I'd be surprised if either was sent to the Netherlands. The club has generally kept their English players at home, which makes sense as they already know the language and culture. They'd both be good fits in terms of talent and style, but neither seem likely to be loaned there.
A bit of a wildcard could be added to this discussion as well. Nathan Ake is dutch, and he's probably ready for a crack at a loan spell. Vitesse would be an extremely aggressive first loan, but if the club felt he's ready to play at that level, it would be a nearly perfect fit. Center back could use some depth for Vitesse if Kalas is going to continue on the right, and Ake is a very good looking prospect.
Wallace is a bit of an interesting guy, as he's probably good enough to contribute there today. With Tomas Kalas playing right back, it would seem a poor fit for us though. Still, Kalas could move back to the center or Wallace could move further up the pitch, and both are good enough players to see regular minutes in those roles. This would seem unlikely, but if Lucas Piazon is sent there it would certainly make a bit more sense culturally.
On loan elsewhere:
Chelsea do have several players on loan that they should probably be thinking of recalling. Whether or not the player fits into the long term plans at Chelsea, getting them the most minutes possible would seem to be a good idea.
Jeffrey Bruma would seem like the name that immediately springs to mind here. Bruma is Dutch, so it will not be a difficult transition culturally. He's been struggling to get minutes at HSV despite looking good when he's on the pitch, and he's certainly good enough to start from day one in the Eredivisie. If we're going to make a move involving Bruma in January, this would make a lot of sense.
Milan Lalkovic would also seem to be a name that makes some sense. Vitesse have been struggling to put the ball in the net, and Lalkovic offers another attacking option. He's a different style of player than what they have now, although I have my doubts if he'd do more than contribute from the bench there. Still, he'd make some sense from either club's perspective, and he's played quite a bit with Patrick van Aanholt and Gael Kakuta in the past.
Other names that spring to mind as possible recalls don't seem to make a ton of sense. None of the goalkeepers will likely become starters at Vitesse, and Ben Gordon would likely never play. Jhon Pirez may actually be a useful backup there, but he's probably better off just left where he is while attempting to get healthy. I suppose it's possible the club could recall Thorgan Hazard to push him into a slightly more competitive league, but that seems like a pretty silly thing to do for me.
We've already discussed Wallace, but if Chelsea add any other young talents in January, they could certainly look to send them to Vitesse as soon as they get them to sign on the dotted line. I certainly wouldn't rule out the idea that we have a few of those types lined up already, similar to Kenneth Omeruo last January.
I'd also toss around the idea that Florent Malouda might be a fit. I'm sure the priority of the club would be to sell him, but Vitesse are one of the few places I could see Chelsea sending him on loan while still paying a portion of his wages if a suitor can't be found. He'd almost certainly start from day one, and he'd be a huge addition as they push towards the title. Whether or not Florent would be amicable to this is another matter, but a title push in the Eredivisie is certainly an interesting proposal. It's unlikely, but it's a thought.
I'd certainly buy the idea that we're sending another player on loan to Vitesse, but it's hard to see three current Chelsea players (including Wallace) that would be excellent fits for that club. I watch all of there games anyway though, so from a loan roundup perspective, it would be ideal.