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Finding a decent central defensive midfielder was a priority for Chelsea over this summer transfer period and the Blues seem to really have done just that with the acquisition of 20-year-old Dutchman Marco van Ginkel, who was signed to a five-year, £8 million deal from Vitesse Arnhem in Dutch Eredivisie.
Van Ginkel, who joined the Vitesse Academy at the oh-so tender age of seven in 1999, is a wonderful pickup for the Blues, as the versatile 6’1” talent can be deployed at either the holding, box-to-box or advanced positions in the midfield. With the glut of talent on the attack, though, expect him to be more of a defender this season.
With Luiz, John Obi Mikel, Michael Essien, Ramires and Lampard all now on the roster, whether or not Van Ginkel actually ends up staying in West London this season is still uncertain, but the way he has looked in Chelsea’s first two games in Asia, chances are Mourinho will want him on board.
There has been much speculation about the Blues going after 29-year-old AS Roma midfielder Daniele De Rossi, but, with Van Ginkel already in the fold, Oriol Romeu now out on loan with Valencia and Sky Sports claiming that Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney is now the Blues' only target, it looks like the club is set in the midfield.
So can we all stop the stories and talk of a possible De Rossi signing? The guy is phenomenal, but with Luiz to possibly be moved up to the holding spot from center-back for good, with Mikel, Essien, Lampard, Ramires and Van Ginkel, it’s safe to say Chelsea is now more than deep enough at the position and that one of these guys will most likely be headed elsewhere in the near future, quite possibly Mikel.
In his story in the Daily Mirror, Sheridan Bird described Van Ginkel as “a mouth-watering hybrid of Frank Lampard and vintage Michael Essien,” and, if that ends up being a fitting description of the Dutchman, he is definitely the archetypal Mourinho player.
Van Ginkel made 111 appearances for Vitesse from 2001 to 2013 scoring 23 goals and was named the Dutch Talent of the Year for the best Under-21 player in Holland last season after scoring 11 goals for FC Hollywood on the Rhine.
With so much midfield talent already on the roster on the attack in Mata, Hazard, Oscar, Victor Moses, Kevin De Bruyne and the newly acquired Andre Schurrle, expect Van Ginkel to primarily be used in the central midfield. However, with his speed, passing skills and ability in the air, don’t be surprised if Mourinho experiments with him some in the advanced midfield.
But expect Van Ginkel—who hardly looks old enough to even have his driver’s license—if he stays up with the big club, to be used in the central midfield where he can slowly blossom as an offensive threat and also do a lot of the often unappreciated dirty work on the pitch as Mikel has quietly done.
But where he ultimately ends up in Chelsea’s starting XI is still a question. Should Mikel leave Stamford Bridge and Luiz end up being better off, or needed, back at his right center-back spot, Van Ginkel could be the main man with Essien used as a backup.
If Ramires ends up being deployed more on the attack and the 35-year-old Lampard is used primarily as a substitute, Van Ginkel may indeed be the guy to fill Lampard’s box-to-box role.
Someday Blues fans may look back at Van Ginkel’s signing as one of the wisest and thriftiest moves the club made in years, and as good as he is, he could very well surprise us all and be starting somewhat regularly before we know it.