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Young Chelsea midfielder gets second shot at Eredivisie, trades Vitesse for Excelsior

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Danilo Pantic was one of the five youngsters farmed out to Vitesse Arnhem last summer, after signing with Chelsea from Partizan Belgrade, but while Lewis Baker and Dominic Solanke impressed, the other three, namely Nathan, Izzy Brown and Pantic, had relatively quieter spells.

Pantic was perhaps the least successful of them all, notching a meager six substitute appearances, all of which came in the first three months of the season. Pantic also spectacularly fell out with his loan club, growing terribly frustrated after not being given enough chances to impress and even got around to accusing the club of disliking Serbian players.

Things went terribly awry for the 19-year-old midfielder in his maiden loan spell as a Chelsea player but he now has a chance to turn over a new leaf and in the same league as well, after signing with Rotterdam club Excelsior for the season.

"It's good to be back in the Netherlands and I'm very much looking forward to playing football for Excelsior Rotterdam. I've just met my teammates and employees of the club. I understand that Excelsior is a family club and that speaks to me."

"When I was at Vitesse, I did of course follow Excelsior a bit and when I knew I was going to be loaned there, I looked it up more on the internet. It is definitely a very different club to Chelsea and Vitesse but that does not matter. I don't know the guys I'm going to play with well yet, but all that will be okay. Tomorrow some guys will train in the stadium and if possible I want to join them. Also tomorrow I'm obviously watching the match against FC Groningen."

"Chelsea is a big club and it is difficult to break through there as a young player. Therefore, it is best to be loaned out for my development and to gain experience. Ultimately, my goal is to come out for the first team at Chelsea."

"I know that playing and staying in the Eredvisie is a great achievement for Excelsior but I want more. It would be great if we could end up in eleventh or twelfth place."

- Danilo Pantic; source: SBV Excelsior

Excelsior have been in and out of the Eredivisie over the years and are also known for agreeing a formal partnership with fellow Rotterdam club Feyenoord, to the extent that both clubs shared the same academy and reserve team until last July. Playing their home games at the 4,500-seater Stadion Woudestein Rotterdam on an artificial turf, Excelsior are the smallest club in the Eredvisie (their total budget is in the same region as Thibaut Courtois' reported annual wage) and finished 15th last season.

Still, a season of regular football in the Eredivisie would mean the world for Pantic's development. Hopefully, things will pan out as planned for the attacking midfielder.

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