If you are a Chelsea fan, there is a good chance you might be thinking: “Who is this kid we’ve just signed from Holland?” In fact, even if you support Manchester United, Manchester City, Arsenal or any other side in the Premier League, there is a good chance you are thinking: “Who is Marco van Ginkel?”
And while that might be understandable, there is every chance that the Vitesse Arnhem prodigy will become a household name at Stamford Bridge.
Van Ginkel is a 20-year-old midfielder that has just been signed by Chelsea to become Jose Mourinho’s second buy since returning to the club last month, following the capture of Andre Schurrle from Bayer Leverkusen for £18 million.
Bought for a fee believed to be around £8 million, Van Ginkel will be expected to succeed where many a young midfielder – Nemanja Matic, Oriol Romeu and Josh McEachran, to name but three – have failed to make the grade at the Bridge playing alongside such exalted company.
But has he got what it takes?
He certainly comes with great pedigree. Signed by Vitesse as seven-year-old, Van Ginkel rose through the ranks at the club’s academy, making his debut as a 17-year-old in April 2010 and becoming a permanent fixture over the last two seasons.
Voted as the Young Talent of the Year in the Dutch Eredivisie last season, it could be that Chelsea view the youngster as the long-term replacement for Frank Lampard.
It seems that Van Ginkel shares the club’s all-time top goalscorer’s eye for the back of the net: he has hit 23 goals in his 111 first-team appearances and last season he struck a very impressive 11 goals in 41 games in all competitions, eight of which came in the league as Vitesse finished fourth.
And what’s more, he seems like a good fit for Mourinho’s preferred way of playing, both tactically and physically.
Being Dutch, he is well versed in the 4-3-3 formation that the former Real Madrid coach prefers and he is a direct, strong, athletic presence.
Finding a position for him might be Mourinho’s biggest challenge – he has played predominately from the right-hand side, but is not a winger in, say, the Arjen Robben mould – as well as the obvious concerns about him settling into a new culture.
But already capped by the Dutch national team having come off the bench in a 0-0 draw with Germany back in November, Van Ginkel’s potential is clear and if Mourinho can harness and develop that, he might have just nicked a mainstay of the Blues squad for many seasons from under the noses of his rivals.
It might not be next season, but it could just be that the £8 million Chelsea have paid for Marco van Ginkel will resemble a steal come five years’ time.