Where are they now? The 29 Chelsea players sent on loan to Vitesse

When Chelsea struggled to give young players first-team opportunities, they could always rely on help from Vitesse Arnhem. 

The Blues are renowned for sending their up-and-coming stars on loan to other clubs to aid their development and for a long time, Vitesse were the main beneficiary. According to a new report in The Guardian, former Chelsea Roman Abramovich secretly funded their takeover and bankrolled them for years.

We’ve looked at the 29 players that Chelsea sent out on loan to the Eredivisie side to see how they’ve fared since.

Matej Delac

Delac spent the 2010-11 season at Vitesse but returned to Chelsea without making a single appearance for the Dutch side.

The goalkeeper went on to have another eight loan spells in seven different countries before joining Danish side AC Horsens on a free transfer in 2018.

Nemanja Matic

Matic’s impressive performances on loan at Vitesse led to a permanent move to Benfica in 2011, only for the midfielder to Chelsea three years later.

After winning two Premier League titles during his second spell at Stamford Bridge, he reunited with Jose Mourinho at Manchester United in 2017. And now he’s back with Jose again at Roma.

Slobodan Rajkovic

Rajkovic signed for Chelsea as a 16-year-old in 2005 and was tipped to succeed John Terry in defence.

But work permit issues meant that the defender never played for the club and instead spent four seasons on loan in the Eredivisie before joining Hamburg in 2011.

The 34-year-old retired last year after a short stint with MTK Budapest.

Ulises Davila

Davila joined Chelsea in 2011 and was immediately loaned out to Vitesse, but he mainly featured for their reserves and made just three first-team appearances in 2011-12.

After further loan spells at Sabadell, Cordoba, Tenerife and Vitoria Setubal, he was sold to Mexican side Santos Laguna in December 2015.

The attacking midfielder is now plying his trade out in Australia with Macarthur FC.

Tomas Kalas

Kalas spent two seasons on loan at Vitesse between 2011 and 2013 and established himself as an almost ever-present in their backline.

The defender then returned to Chelsea and made his Premier League debut in the famous 2-0 win over Liverpool in 2014, but that was one of just four appearances for the Blues.

He had another four temporary spells away from Stamford Bridge and finally cut all ties with the club in 2019, joining Bristol City for £8million. He’s still there today and is approaching 150 appearances for the Robins.

Patrick van Aanholt

Van Aanholt’s path into the Chelsea first team was blocked by Ashley Cole, and his fifth and final loan spell came at Vitesse.

The left-back made 87 appearances during a two-and-a-half year stint with the Dutch side, but he was sold to Sunderland on his return to Stamford Bridge.

After impressing at the Stadium of Light, he made a £14million switch to Crystal Palace in 2017 and for a time was a key member of Roy Hodgson’s side. He left Selhurst Park alongside Hodgson in 2011 and now turns out for PSV, the club Chelsea signed him from way back in 2007.

Gael Kakuta

Kakuta’s transfer to Chelsea landed them in hot water as the Blues were found guilty of inducing the player to break his contract with Lens.

His 18-month stint at Vitesse was one of six temporary moves away from Stamford Bridge before the winger was released by the Blues in 2015.

After spells with Sevilla, Hebel China Fortune and Rayo Vallecano, the 31-year-old is now back in northern France with Ligue 2 club Amiens.

Cristian Cuevas

Cuevas joined Chelsea in 2013 and was then sent on a season-long loan to Vitesse, but he failed to make a single first-team appearance and the loan was cancelled in February 2014.

The left-back eventually returned to his native Chile and signed for Huachipato on a permanent deal in 2017. Nowadays he’s turning out for Universidad Catolica.

Lucas Piazon

Piazon was once regarded as one of the world’s best young players, scoring 11 goals in 29 Eredivisie appearances in 2013-14.

Remarkably, the Brazilian eventually became Chelsea’s longest-serving player, despite making a grand total of three appearances in 10 years.

“My time at Chelsea is already over,” he told A Bola in September 2019. “I’m 25, I’ve been on loan several times. I’ve been at Chelsea since 2011, I’ve been on loan almost all over Europe.

“I’m tired of playing here and there, I need a place where I can feel at home. I want to know that in July I will return to the same place, to the same house.”

He was finally freed from Chelsea’s loan army in January 2021. He joined Portuguese side Braga, but is now back in Brazil with Botafogo. Only on loan, of course.

Christian Atsu

Straight after moving to Chelsea in 2013, Atsu was shipped out to Vitesse on a season-long loan in order to gain first-team experience.

The winger later had temporary stints with Everton, Bournemouth, Malaga and Newcastle before signing for the Magpies permanently in 2017. He joined Turkish Super Lig club Hatayspor last year but tragically died in the earthquake in February, prompting an outpouring of tributes from across the world of football.

Sam Hutchinson

Hutchinson made three appearances during his loan spell at Vitesse after briefly retiring from the game due to a recurring knee injury.

Another loan spell at Sheffield Wednesday turned into a permanent deal in 2014. The midfielder has made over 140 appearances for the Owls and is now at Reading.

Bertrand Traore

Traore joined Vitesse in January 2014 and had an excellent 18-month spell with the Dutch side, scoring 20 goals in 51 appearances in all competitions.

The winger returned to Stamford Bridge but failed to establish himself in the first team and was sold to Ligue 1 Lyon for £8.8million in 2017.

He scored 18 goals in all competitions in his debut campaign in France, but fell out of favour during Rudi Garcia’s reign and was sold to Aston Villa in 2020. He scored seven goals in 47 Premier League appearances for Villa and was recently recalled from a loan at Turkish Super Lig side Istanbul Basaksehir.


One of our favourite “Brazilian footballers that sound like they could be on an OAP’s bowls team”, Wallace failed to make much of an impact during his time at Vitesse and had further loan spells at Carpi and Gremio.

Chelsea unsurprisingly decided against extending his contract, and the defender joined Brazilian side Figueirense on a free transfer in 2018. He now plays for Sampaio Corraa-RJ in his home country.

Josh McEachran

Chelsea had high hopes for McEachran, who made his Premier League and Champions League debuts at just 17.

But the midfielder failed to live up to his potential and was released by the Blues after returning from his loan spell at Vitesse in 2015.

He spent four injury-hit years at Brentford before joining Birmingham City on a free transfer in 2019, only for more fitness issues to restrict his minutes. He’s now at MK Dons and finally featuring regularly once again.

Danilo Pantic

Pantic’s loan move to Vitesse in 2015-16 didn’t quite go to plan as he made just 11 appearances and was suspended by the club late in the campaign after alleging they were anti-Serbian.

“I will certainly not return to Chelsea, I have nothing to look for there,” Pantic told Nova in May 2020. Sure enough, he left Stamford Bridge, signing for Serbian giants Partizan in 2021.


Nine days after signing for Chelsea in 2015, Nathan joined Vitesse on loan and made 51 appearances for the club over the next two years.

He spent two seasons on loan at Atletico Mineiro in his native Brazil, eventually joining the club on a permanent deal in 2020. They’ve since loaned him out to Fluminense.

Lewis Baker

Baker spent two seasons on loan with the Eredivisie side and helped them claim their first piece of silverware in their 125-year history, but the midfielder has failed to build on that.

After underwhelming loan spells at Middlesbrough and Leeds, he joined Fortuna Dusseldorf on loan in 2019 but was accused of going AWOL by the manager and had his loan deal terminated in January 2020. After one last loan spell out at Trabzonspor, he joined Stoke on a permanent deal back in January.

He made a blinding start for the Potters but hasn’t quite kept up that form as the Championship side have floundered.

Dominic Solanke

After spending the 2015-16 season on loan at Vitesse, Solanke returned to Stamford Bridge to fight for a place in the first team.

But the striker failed to make a single appearance in 2016-17 and agreed to sign for Liverpool upon the expiration of his Chelsea contract.

He then moved to Bournemouth in January 2019, but needed them to drop down to the Championship to be able to start realising that early potential.

His 29 Championship goals fired the Cherries back to the top flight last term and he’s notched three goals in their battle for survival this season.

Izzy Brown

Brown got his first taste of loan football at Vitesse in 2015-16 but struggled to hold down a consistent place in the starting line-up.

He had other temporary spells at Rotherham, Huddersfield, Brighton, Leeds, Luton and Sheffield Wednesday before eventually being released last summer.

“You step out in the real world when you go out on loan,” Brown told Goal in November 2019. “Then you really understand what football is like. I think at Chelsea they sugar coat it when you are young.

“That’s why loans are so important because you can man up. When you come in the dressing room, there’s no one there for you.

“These are grown men and they will tell you when you are not doing good enough. It was a good decision at the time to do it young.”

He joined Preston after leaving Chelsea but suffered a ruptured Achilles in pre-season. He never made an appearance for the Championship club before he was let go, and is now a free agent in search of another club. Dreadful luck with injuries, that lad.

Chelsea's Isaiah Brown and Dominic Solanke before the FA Youth Cup final v Manchester City. City Football Academy Stadium, Manchester. April 2015.

READ: The 3 Chelsea kids Mourinho tipped for stardom in 2014 & how they fared

Matt Miazga

Miazaga joined Chelsea from New York Red Bulls in January 2016 and made two Premier League appearances before being loaned out to Vitesse.

After two successful years in Holland, he had spells with Nantes, Reading, Anderlecht and Alaves – a nice varied selection, that – before finally leaving the Blues on a permanent deal to join MLS club FC Cincinnati last summer.

Mukhtar Ali 

Ali joined Vitesse on loan in January 2017, and the deal was made permanent a few months later, although he has since left for Al-Nassr in his native Saudi Arabia.

He doesn’t get to play with Ronaldo though as he’s been loaned out to Al-Tai.

Mason Mount

Mount registered 13 goals and nine assists in the Eredivisie in 2017-18 and even won Vitesse’s Player of the Year award, aged just 19.

Safe to say things have gone alright for him since.

But according to those in the know, it looks increasingly like Mount will depart Stamford Bridge this summer after struggling to make progress on contract talks.

Charlie Colkett

Colkett only made 11 appearances for Vitesse and was recalled by Chelsea midway through the 2017-18 season.

The midfielder had another disastrous loan spell at Shrewsbury Town before joining Ostersund on a permanent deal in January 2019.

“It would be harsh to say I was let down,” Colkett told BBC Sport in April 2019. “But you become part of the system and, at the end of the day, end up being a bit of a number.”

He’s now turning out for Crewe Alexandra.

Fankaty Dabo

Dabo spent the 2017-18 season on loan at Vitesse and then returned on loan to the Netherlands with Sparta Rotterdam.

The right-back joined Coventry City at the expiration of his Chelsea contract in 2019 and won their Player of the Year award in his debut season, which ended with the Sky Blues achieving promotion to the Championship. He’s still there today.


Eduardo was released by Chelsea at the end of the 2017-18 season after failing to make a single appearance for the club.

But the Blues re-signed the goalkeeper a few weeks later on a one-year deal, only to then send him out on loan to Vitesse.

The Portugal international was released by Chelsea once again in 2019 and saw out the final year of his career with Braga.

Charly Musonda

Once a highly-rated young winger, Musonda is 26 but has barely played any football at all due to a persistent knee injury.

He spent two years on loan at Vitesse but made just four appearances. He then spent two years back at Chelsea without making a first-team appearance and was released in the summer. He’s since joined Spanish second-tier side Levante.

Jake Clarke-Salter

After a difficult season at Sunderland, Clarke-Salter earned rave reviews during his loan spell at Vitesse in 2018-19.

“I’d be silly to say I wouldn’t want to be in the position where I could play for Chelsea. Anyone would,” he told The Independent in September 2019. “It’s very hard to have patience at times, but you have to understand that there are world-class players at Chelsea. You learn to appreciate that.”

It never quite happened for Clarke-Salter at Stamford Bridge. Loans to Birmingham and Coventry followed and he since joined QPR in the summer.

Jamal Blackman

Blackman joined Vitesse on a season-long loan in September 2019, but the arrangement was cut short in the January of that campaign. It was one of seven fairly unforgettable loans away from Chelsea.

The goalkeeper since moved on a permanent deal to Los Angeles FC, then Huddersfield, now Exeter.

Armando Broja

The Slough-born Albania international was superb at Vitesse in 2020-21, scoring 10 goals in 30 Eredivisie appearances as he got his first taste of senior football.

He continued to catch the eye with a successful loan spell at Southampton last term and is now back at his parent club, although a season-ending injury has stopped him progressing under Graham Potter.

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