Chelsea shaping youthful future with deal for van Ginkel

Posted by Phil Lythell

Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty ImagesMarco van Ginkel scored 16 goals last season for Dutch side Vitesse.

Chelsea appear to be on the verge of their second major signing of the summer after confirming that a fee has been agreed with Vitesse Arnhem over the transfer of their young starlet Marco van Ginkel.

- Chelsea agree to fee for van Ginkel

While the initial negotiations have been successful, it must be realised that the transfer is by no means a done deal with personal terms still to be agreed. Although the thought of a 20-year-old plying his trade in the Eredivisie turning down a move to the Premier League and one of Europe's biggest clubs that is famous for rewarding its players with handsome salaries might seem unlikely, it is still a possibility.

Van Ginkel will be aware of the array of young talent accumulated by Chelsea over the past few years with none of them having stepped up, as yet, to establish themselves in the first team. Part of the reason for that has been down to their own shortcomings, though there is no question that, with the stakes so high, the club have been hugely risk-averse when faced with the prospect of blooding young players. The possibility of being brought in and then left to stagnate is very real. But rather than just being concerned about being sidelined or loaned out, the youngster is more pre-occupied with how much first team football he will receive with his eye set on earning a place in Holland's senior squad for next summer's World Cup.

That attitude coupled with his objectives speaks volumes for a player that few people outside of Holland had heard of prior to the Euro Under-21 Championships in Israel last month. Clearly a confident young man, his talent appears beyond question assuming that he is a realistic contender to be on the plane to Brazil 2014.

Should the transfer go through, it will mark the first time that the arrangement between Vitesse Arnhem and Chelsea has borne fruit in the Londoners' favour. So far the tie-up between the two clubs has largely seen the Dutch club benefit from a series of loan deals over the past few years. Gael Kakuta, Tomas Kalas and Patrick van Aanholt are the most recent of those who have made the temporary switch from Stamford Bridge to the GelreDome, with the revolving dressing room door perhaps making van Ginkel think twice about moving the other way. The relationship between the two clubs is rooted in the friendship between Roman Abramovich and his counterpart at Vitesse, Merab Jordania, and cemented by the close links that the Chelsea owner's adviser Piet de Visser still has with the Dutch club. The familiarity undoubtedly facilitated smooth negotiations over the fee which is thought to be around £8m and bodes well for the Blues should Vitesse unearth any more diamonds.

As for van Ginkel himself, his style of play has led many observers to liken him to Frank Lampard which is no bad thing. Primarily, he is a forward thinking player capable of defence-splitting passes and with a keen eye for goal. He has netted 56 times for Vitesse since being elevated to the first team three years ago -- 16 of which came last season -- a statistic that certainly bears comparison to Chelsea's all-time record goalscorer.

Should it go through, the signing would certainly raise a few questions. With Chelsea already employing several attacking midfielders, there would understandably be many people wondering why the Blues need to add weight to this department especially with Andre Schurrle having been added to the mix to compete in advanced positions. However, van Ginkel is a slightly deeper lying player happier with the play in front of him rather than receiving it with his back to goal. It is also expected that his natural all-round ability will allow him to develop the defensive side of his game and make him a candidate to play in a double pivot should it be required by Jose Mourinho.

There are also fears that van Ginkel's arrival would cast doubt over the futures of the young midfield talent already at the club. Nathaniel Chalobah, Nathan Ake and Josh McEachran all have a claim to be included as part of next season's first team squad while Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Lewis Baker are genuine prospects for the coming years. The introduction ahead of them in the pecking order of a player of similar age could possibly make them think their careers are best served at another club. That said, each of the players mentioned has different qualities so the onus should really be left to them to prove their worth and earn themselves a fair crack of the whip. Mourinho has already said that there will be a focus on bringing through young talent; now is their time to stand up and be counted.

Van Ginkel adds competition for places as well as youthful flair. Assuming he joins Chelsea, he represents the next piece of Mourinho's jigsaw as he seeks to carve out his own team from the old foundations already in place at Stamford Bridge. The future is looking bright and it looks like it might have a hint of orange.

Follow Phil Lythell on Twitter @PhilLythell

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