Marco Van Ginkel finds himself in the enviable position of being able to choose between two of English football's giants.
According to The Mirror, Chelsea currently lead the chase for the player's signature. The Blues have a pre-existing partnership agreement with his club, Vitesse Arnhem, and Jose Mourinho has reportedly identified Van Ginkel as a potential addition to his new-look Chelsea squad.
United have also expressed an interest in the player, however, with the club’s chief scout, Jim Lawlor, watching the attacking midfielder during Holland’s run to the semi-finals of the European Under-21 Championships in Israel this month.
Both clubs' interest will have been piqued by Van Ginkel's performances at the European U21 Championships. Going in to the tournament, few expected Van Ginkel to be a regular in the Holland side. The more experienced Leroy Fer was the obvious choice to fill the holding role.
However, coach Cor Pot surprisingly decided to deploy the normally attacking Van Ginkel in an unfamiliar defensive position, with spectacular results. Van Ginkel excelled, emerging as the pivotal player in a Dutch team that reached the semi-finals.
In adapting so quickly to a new position, Van Ginkel demonstrated versatility to match that of his more celebrated international colleague, Kevin Strootman.
Connoisseurs of Dutch football will know that Van Ginkel's performances this summer were no fluke. He made his debut for Vitesse back in 2010 at just 17 years old. Within six months, he was a regular starter. Three years on, at 20, he has played more than 100 senior games. Only an exceptionally prodigious talent could make such swift progress.
Van Ginkel is, like many young Dutch players, extremely technically gifted. He is capable of passing over both long and short distances, with both accuracy and ambition. His metronome-like pass-and-move game allows him to dictate the tempo of any match.
Nevertheless, it's his intelligence that marks him out from the rest. It's striking to see a player so young look so composed. He has a natural "football brain" and seems to possess a tactical understanding that belies his youth. His ability to instantly get to grips with the tactically demanding defensive midfield role underlines his precocious nature.
However, Van Ginkel remains at his best when liberated to break forward. According to WhoScored, he managed eight goals from midfield last season, demonstrating a devastating ability to shoot with both feet.
That ability to contribute to the team's attacking play means Chelsea could view him as a long-term replacement for Frank Lampard. Similarly, United will hope he can fill the void created by Paul Scholes' retirement.
Whether he ends up at Stamford Bridge or Old Trafford, Van Ginkel is destined to be a hit. Whoever ultimately signs him will get a midfielder with the skill, power and preternatural intelligence to flourish in the Premier League.
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