Oriol Romeu joined Chelsea from Barcelona in 2011 for £4.35 million. The 6'0" defensive midfielder had been held up as a key player for the future in Catalonia, and many fans were dismayed that he would be joining their European rivals.
Romeu made his first appearance for the Blues from the bench against Sunderland before playing the full 90 minutes in the Carling Cup tie with Fulham later that week. More opportunities followed as the fixtures piled up, and he ended his debut season with 24 appearances, an FA Cup medal and a Champions League medal.
Rafa Benitez reinstated him to the starting XI when he took over in November 2012, but his season was curtailed by a horrible knee injury that required reconstructive surgery.
Barcelona had included a buy-back clause in the original deal, which expired this past summer without being activated. As Romeu hadn't played a competitive fixture in over six months, Jose Mourinho decided to send him out on loan to Valencia.
The 22-year-old had a slow start to his time at the Mestalla and struggled to settle in to the team. However, his performance against Swansea City in the Europa League showed exactly what he can achieve when he is on form.
Romeu won seven aerial duels as well as making five tackles and another five clearances. Valencia’s 1-0 win saw them secure top spot in Group A, guaranteeing their progress to the knockout stages. He then played a key role in Los Che’s 3-0 drubbing of Osasuna in La Liga to take them to ninth place in the table.
His vision and passing make him the perfect player for the pivot, giving the attacking players the confidence to go forward. According to The Express, Valencia manager Miroslav Djukic has been so impressed with Romeu’s performances that he has enquired about the possibility of signing him at the end of his season-long loan.
However, Mourinho swiftly rejected this request, giving Blues fans hope that there could soon be a solution to the defensive problems that have seen them concede six goals in their last two games.
All statistics via WhoScored.
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