The highly-rated youngster arrives from his native Holland for a fee reportedly around the £8 million mark and joins the ranks at Stamford Bridge where, apart from boasting some of the finest talent at senior level in Juan Mata, John Terry, Ashley Cole, Frank Lampard, Petr Cech, Ramires, David Luiz and Gary Cahill, returning Blues boss Jose Mourinho has an abundance of young talent coming through.
Mourinho inherits some of the most exciting prospects in world football at Stamford Bridge – where most top clubs have perhaps a handful of hot young prospects coming through at any given time, Chelsea may well be about to embark on something of a Golden Age.
Looking at their reserve team alone, one would come to the conclusion they have the armoury there to dominate European football for the next decade, at the very least.
In their first-team at senior level they have the likes of 22-year-old Eden Hazard who is undoubtedly the best Belgian player of his generation, 21-year-old Brazilian starlet Oscar, 23-year-old Spanish right-back Cesar Azpilicueta as well as his 21-year-old compatriot defensive midfielder Oriol Romeu.
Working out into the peripherals, the fringe players of the first-team, there is 22-year-old Nigerian winger Victor Moses; acquired from Wigan last summer; highly-rated English fullback Ryan Bertrand who is expected to fill Ashley Cole’s boots eventually and the Blues have just brought in one of the Bundesliga’s finest in Bayer Leverkusen forward 22-year-old Andre Schurrle.
Meanwhile, such is the abundance of talent Chelsea have on their books at Stamford Bridge, last seasons young loan stars 20-year-old Belgian striker Romelu Lukaku was one of the Premier League highest scorers for West Brom last term and promising 20-year-old English midfielder Josh McEachran spent the season down in the Championship learning his trade at Middlesbrough.
Abroad, Chelsea sent Eden Hazard’s brother 20-year-old attacking midfielder Thorgan Hazard out on loan back in his native Belgium, Kenneth Omeruo is a Nigerian international regular who was player of the year at ADO Den Haag last term, 22-year-old French winger Gael Kakuta returned from Vitesse, and one of Brazil’s hottest prospects 19-year-old forward Lucas Piazon has returned from La Liga where he was on loan with Malaga.
This season 21-year-old Belgian goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois will continue his development on loan at Atletico Madrid, probably until he’s ready to take the reigns from Petr Cech eventually. Then there’s 22-year-old Netherlands left-back Patrick van Aanholt who was also on loan at Vitesse last term.
Another of Belgium’s finest wonderkids 22-year-old Kevin De Bruyne scored 10 goals and made 10 assists on loan at Werder Bremen this term whilst down in the reserve team (that’s right now into the reserves) there’s Nathaniel Chalobah, Matej Delac, Joao Rodriguez, Jhon Pirez, Wallace, Islam Feruz, Lamisha Musonda, Nathan Ake and Tomas Kalas who, if you haven’t heard of them now they may well be household names in the coming years.
Marco van Ginkel’s signing is just the latest in a long line of hot prospects at Chelsea where, if their tendency to look towards the future continues at the same rate it has over the last few years, under Jose Mourinho the Blues are building a team and a squad for the future – the kind of team that can dominate domestic and continental competitions for more than a decade.
Chelsea seem to have a monopoly on young talent and if they develop it accordingly, the future looks bright; the future looks Blue.
image: © Ben Sutherland