Danilo Pantić, who had been at Hungarian first division side MOL Fehérvár FC (formerly known as MOL Vidi FC just last season, when we played them in the Europa League) has returned to Chelsea.
The 23-year-old midfielder’s loan was set to last for the full season, and even had a buy-option built into it, but Fehérvár have cut short his loan on Deadline Day after 11 appearances (5 starts).
The more salacious stories in Hungary paint this as Fehérvár essentially “firing” the player due to poor performances, but his departure has more to do with a firing of a different sort, the recent head coaching change at the club.
Pantić arrived a month into the season, yet featured in nearly every game under head coach Marko Nikolić. Nikolić had been the (very successful) coach at Fehérvár since 2017, but before then, he had two (also successful) spells in charge of Partizan Belgrade, including for Pantić’s first two full seasons (2013-15). Both Pantić and Nikolić left in 2015, and both returned eventually, though not at the same time. But last summer they were reunited at Fehérvár, and it was good a for minute. But then the team’s results took a turn for the worse, Nikolić was sacked in late November, and the new man in charge, Joan Carrillo did not rate the Chelsea loanee.
And so, the loan was cut short, which is probably good for all involved.
@ChelseaLoanArmy actually not, Pantic didn’t travel with the first team to Marbella, he is with the Reserves in Hungary, his loan with MOL Fehérvár is in doubt for the second part of the season— Nádas Balázs (@NadasBalazs) January 10, 2020
While it may appear that Pantić, who has 18 months left on his Chelsea contract, is now stuck in limbo for the next six months, the transfer window doesn’t close at the same time for every association.
For instance, and perhaps quite crucially, the window in Serbia is still open until next Friday (February 7). Pantić spent the previous two years being very productive back on loan at Partizan, and it wouldn’t be surprising if he returned home once again. Other mid-major football associations where the transfer windows are still open include Austria, Croatia, Romania, Switzerland, Argentina, Russia, Ukraine, and the Czech Republic.