During the past few registration periods Chelsea have gone about stockpiling a collection of young players with the natural versatility to operate in several different positions.
Hybrids, you might call them, and newest acquisition Marco van Ginkel is just the latest up-and-coming talent to join the exciting group.
Unveiled at Stamford Bridge on Friday, after sealing what the Guardian is estimating to be a £9 million move from Dutch side Vitesse Arnhem, the 20-year-old told Chelsea’s official website he was looking forward to working with Frank Lampard—a good thing, given that the midfielder has already been likened to the Blues legend and could well be expected to fill the England international’s role on a permanent basis in a few years.
Van Ginkel is at his best when used in a playmaking role alongside a holding midfielder. At Chelsea that teammate could end up being John Obi Mikel or David Luiz, both of whom would be expected to sit back in front of the defense while van Ginkel moved up and down the pitch with relative freedom.
The eight goals he managed for Vitesse last season were often products of well-timed runs that took him into the right place at the right time, and his aerial ability should see him build on his offensive production from set pieces while at Chelsea.
He has also been used as a more advanced playmaker at times over the course of his three full seasons in top-flight football. Chelsea already have no shortage of candidates for that role (Juan Mata, Oscar, Eden Hazard), but van Ginkel’s versatility will only be an asset to manager Jose Mourinho in this regard.
And Mourinho, according to the Guardian report, has already promised van Ginkel significant playing time in the first team during the coming season. The player’s showing at the recently-completed UEFA European U-21 Championship seems to have only enhanced the opinions the Chelsea brass already had about him, and given that Lampard is remaining at the club there seems to be an ideal opportunity for some mentoring as well.
In any event, van Ginkel’s addition only boosts an already impressive group of young playmakers at Stamford Bridge. This Chelsea project is an exciting one, and the club seems to be set up for another era of sustained success.