The Frank Lampard replacements are being mooted in earnest following the legendary Chelsea man’s announcement that his time at Stamford Bridge is at an end.
Former Arsenal talisman Cesc Fabregas and Atletico Madrid lynchpin Koke are among those the Blues want to replace their outbound number eight, but both will command premium price tags.
Instead of forking out in the region of the £30m mark, though, the Financial Fair Play-fearing west Londoners could save a packet by ushering Dutch youngster Marco van Ginkel into Lamps’ boots.
The youngster-comparison gurus have likened MVG to both Lampard and fellow golden generation midfielder Steven Gerrard in the past, sentiments echoed by current coach Jose Mourinho.
Lauded for his composure in possession and a steadiness that belies his tender age, the 21-year-old won’t contribute the same number of goals to the cause as his predecessor, but the deeper role in which the England vice-captain occupied in the Blues side last term is one in which Van Ginkel could flourish.
Neither Fabregas, nor Koke would pitch in with 20-plus goals from midfield, meaning the Special One is targeting a different kind of engine room operator as he looks to restructure the west Londoners’ waistband.
The Holland international has the energy to make the late runs into the box that Lampard made a living out of too, so he’s sure to give the scoreboard operators some hassle if entrusted with central-midfield responsibilities.
Again, this is something absent from the games of the Spanish duo Chelsea are weighing up moves for, who orchestrate from deep and don’t get involved with the shenanigans in the box.
While placing such faith in a player largely untested in the Premier League may come across as a rash move, opting to keep Van Ginkel in a perennial reserve role will do nothing other than hinder his development and, furthermore, why pay £8m for a fledgling star then never give him a chance in the first-team?
Mourinho has much to contemplate in this respect, but one thing that looks unlikely to happen is figuring out a way to nullify Lampard’s threats next season, with a price of 2/5 dictating the 35-year-old will move to the MLS next.