Chelsea have been linked with the 22-year-old full back over the last few days, reportedly scouting him on a regular basis and they would have liked what they saw in Ajax’s Champions League clash against Milan last night.
Van Rhijn seems to be a target for Chelsea to come and play at right-back which would free up Branislav Ivanovic to play in his arguably better position in the centre of defence.
The fact Jose Mourinho has barely given Cesar Azpilicueta a look in this season suggests he’s unconvinced by the Spaniard’s ability to nail down the Chelsea right-back role and perform on a consistent basis.
Van Rhijn was solid against Milan, showing a solid defensive game, as he had to hold himself back due to winger Lesley de Sa not tracking back regularly and helping out defensively from a wide position.
When van Rhijn did get the chance to get forward, he looked competent in wide areas, playing simple passes and making simple decisions which is exactly what Chelsea will be looking for.
Should they move for him, Mourinho won’t want a full back who tries to be too clever. The side is gifted in terms of attacking and central midfielders, which means there is no need for the full back overlapping to try and get involved.
When he was pinned back by Milan’s midfield, van Rhijn showed great awareness alongside the rest of the back four.
When the ball went wide, he broke from a narrower position to go and press that player but when Milan had the ball in front of the defence, he tucked inside to narrow the gaps.
It was only a late penalty from Mario Balotelli that salvaged Milan a point, otherwise Ajax would have secured the three points and van Rhijn would have been a vital part of that victory.
His contract with the Dutch club currently expires in the summer of 2015, which means Ajax are under no pressure to sell and Chelsea can continue to scout him regularly.
However, considering the number of clubs that are reported to be interested in this guy, they may be better off getting a bid in sooner rather than later if they want to avoid missing out him.
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