Chelsea hoopt op inzet Rajkovic
De 22-jarige Serviër heeft op dit moment geen werkvergunning voor Engeland en speelde de afgelopen jaren daarom op huurbasis voor achtereenvolgens PSV, FC Twente en Vitesse.
Een jury kan grote talenten van buiten de Europese Unie alsnog toestemming geven in Engeland te voetballen en trainer André Villas-Boas hoopt dat dit ook voor Rajkovic geldt. „Ik denk dat hij genoeg talent heeft voor de Premier League”, aldus de Portugees.
De Servische verdediger zelf verwacht echter dat hij opnieuw een jaar buiten Engeland zal moeten spelen. „Ik denk dat ik opnieuw ergens op huurbasis ga spelen, waarschijnlijk weer in Nederland, maar dat hangt af van de mensen binnen de club”, aldus Rajkovic.
Rajkovic at home away
With limited activity in the transfer market so far, new faces on the playing staff are rather rare on our pre-season tour of Asia.
The four youngsters excepted, it is a settled squad from that which featured last season with the addition of one man – Slobodan Rajkovic.
The Serbian defender’s performances in Chelsea colours over the past few weeks have caught the eye,after five years spent on loan in Holland.
The problem with Rajkovic, 22, is that as a non-EU national, he has not fulfilled the quota of games required for a work permit to play competitively in England, and so while he can play in behind-closed-doors matches or on foreign soil like in Malaysia, Thailand and Hong Kong, it is expected that the defender will need to spend the next campaign abroad once more.
EU rules dictate that incoming players must be of sufficient standard to make a significant contribution to the football of that country, meaning having played in 75 per cent ofcompetitive matches for which he was available in the two years preceding application for the permit, and that the player’s country is among the top 70 in world football.
Rajkovic has not met the criteria for international football, but special cases can be processed through a panel, as happened with Ramires when he joined Chelsea last summer. Players must also demonstrate competence in English, which Rajkovic can, and different countries can set different rules – hence being able to play in Holland but not England.
It is a frustrating situation for a player with unquestioned pedigree, who has settled well to life back at his parent club over the past few weeks.
‘Of course I am enjoying things, I have the support of all the players so it is easy for me to play and every day I feel I am improving with them, the coach and the technical staff and I think it;s very important for me this season,’ Rajkovic told Chelseafc.com/ontour.
‘I can learn a lot from the experienced players, I’m very happy and I hope I can keep on this level.. Everybody has accepted me and helped me – it’sa good group with good players and people, and there is lots of personality so it’s fine, and my fitness is good, I am feeling well and have no injuries so it is great.’
There is still a nagging disappointment in his voice though, as he faces up to the likelihood of football elsewhere once more, despite having contributed well to our run of five pre-season clean sheets in a row.
‘Like you know I cannot play in England but if I can keep at this level, play for my national team and I can expect to play as soon as possible here,’ Rajkovic said.
‘But this year I think I will need to go on loan somewhere, probably in Holland again but it depends on people in the club, so when we go back to London we will try to sort something out.
‘I am already five years in Holland, so maybe I could change something, but that is the politics and we will have to see what happens.’
Following yesterday’s 4-0 win over Kitchee, there were encouraging words from manager Andre Villas-Boas however, who would like to investigate whether it is possible for the centre-back to remain in England.
‘I think that Rajko deserves a chance with a hearing panel,’ Villas-Boas said after the game. ‘He has shown his qualities throughout all this pre-season.
‘We weren’t able to use him against Portsmouth but again you saw the level that he is at at this moment and it is a questionwe have to address carefully because also at this moment we all know the choices that we have to take in the central defender role because we have five positions and four of them are top central defenders.
‘The most important thing for Rajko and his future is for him to get this panel hearing because I think his talent is good enough for the Premier League. Let’s do it step by step and hopefully enough we will be able to convince the panel that Rajkovic deserves a chance in the Premier League.’