A mixture of high and low points will greet Vitesse fans when they think back to last season. Highs, such as a six-game winning streak that included wins away at Ajax and an astonishing 6-2 win away at PSV, were balanced out by low points like losing 4 out of the last 10 games of the season before being beaten 5-1 on aggregate by Groningen in the semi-final of the Europa League play-off writes Ryan O’Grady.
Last season’s goal tally of 65 was the 3rd best in the league, behind only Feyenoord and FC Twente, but with this summer’s departures 32 of those 65 goals have departed which is a huge loss and it will be extremely hard if not impossible to replace. This summer like last summer saw the departure of star players such as Lucas Piazon, who was Vitesse’s top scorer with 11 goals, and Christian Atsu who both returned to Chelsea after there loan deals expired. Star striker Mike Havenaar also departed this after scoring 10 goals last season. While he was a free agent his decision to sign for newly-promoted Spanish side Cordoba is somewhat surprising considering he was attracting interest from Napoli of Italy. The situation upfront is certainly worrying. After Havenaar the second top scorer in the strikers department was Kazaishvili with 4 goals and it remains to be seen whether new signing Abiola Dauda, who has a decent record at both Kalmar of Sweden and Red Star Belgrade of Serbia, can deliver the goods when needed. Another miss for Vitesse will be left back Patrick van Aanholt who returned to Chelsea before signing for Sunderland permanently. Van Aanholt made 29 appearances in the Eredivisie last year and also chipped in with four goals.
To try and compensate for the loss of van Aanholt the club have turned to Chelsea again, this time signing Brazilian right-back Wallace on a one-year loan deal. Another loan signing from Chelsea saw the return of Bertrand Traore, who made a great impression last season and was welcomed back with open arms. An important player for Vitesse this year will be right back come defensive midfielder Kelvin Leerdam. He made 28 appearances last year and contributed a brilliant 8 goals making him 3rd top scorer at the club. This summer Vitesse have played six preseason games, they started off with 4 draws against Cercle Brugge (1-1), Sparta Rotterdam (0-0), Osnabrück (2-2) and Hertha Berlin (0-0). The game away at Hertha was followed by a visit to Stamford Bridge to play against Chelsea, who took a 3-0 lead in the game before Vitesse pulled one back at the end. Their last pre-season friendly was against Bolton Wanderers and that resulted in a 1-0 win with a free kick from Vejinovic.
TRANSFERS INS AND OUT
IN: Abiola Dauda (Red Star Belgrade), Arnold Kruiswijk (Heerenveen), Denys Oliynyk (Dnipro), Wallace (Chelsea).
OUT: Christian Atsu (Chelsea), Lucas Piazon (Chelsea), Marko Meerits (FC Emmen), Mike Havanaar (Cordoba), Patrick van Aanholt (Sunderland).
MANAGER – PETER BOSZ
The former Vitesse and Feyenoord midfielder was appointed last summer after previous manager Fred Rutten stepped down after leading the club to an impressive 4th placed finish. The former Netherlands midfielder has also played at a number of other clubs including RKC Waalwijk and even as far away as JEF United Ichihara in Japan. After retiring from professional football he became head coach of amateur side AGOVV Apeldoorn before moving to De Graafschap and then Heracles Almelo where he won the Eerste Divisie in 2005. In 2006 he became Technical Director at his old club Feyenoord, but he left his position in January 2009 due to his opposition of the sacking of then manager Gertjan Verbeek. In 2010 he replaced Verbeek as manager of Heracles, returning for a second spell as manager before joining Vitesse in the summer of 2013.
KEY PLAYER – BERTRAND TRAORE
Great things are almost certainly to come from this youngster. It seems that Jose Mourinho believes he is good enough for the Chelsea first team but he is unable to play in the Premier League due to work permit problems. This led to the Vitesse management to take advantage of the two clubs controversial partnership and sign him on loan for another season. The club are quite clearly delighted to have him back; Vitesse Technical Director Mohammed Allach has been quoted as saying “he made a strong personal impression on us” and that “we are thrilled that Bertrand is joining us again”. He will probably get more than the 15 appearances he attained last season and will gain more valuable first team experience.
PREDICTION – 8TH
BET VICTOR EREDIVISIE TITLE ODDS: 20/1
Click Ryan’s name above to follow him on Twitter.