Despite his young age, the Dutchman is no stranger to setbacks. An anterior crucial ligament injury last September compromised his first season at Stamford Bridge just as he got going.
When the 21-year-old set out for San Siro on deadline day with no place for him in Jose Mourinho’s squad, he looked to have gone to the right place.
The Rossoneri’s might on the pitch has fallen away in recent years but that would give van Ginkel space to get minutes while living daily life at an historic giant of the game.
Van Ginkel, unfortunately, is an unlucky young man. He came off injured on his Milan debut in September and has been on the fringes of the squad ever since.
There have been strong claims that Chelsea are dismayed at his lack of action and will recall him in January, though both the player and his agent have ruled out such a return.
That leaves van Ginkel to continue fighting for a place in Pippo Inzaghi’s squad – a task that is about to get that much harder with yet another face in the frame.
Inzaghi has announced that Rossoneri captain Riccardo Montolivo is close to coming back into the side after recovering from a broken leg sustained back in May.
The Italian coach left open the possibility that Montolivo could be available as early as next week-end’s Milan derby, calling his return ‘our best signing yet’.
While getting back on to the pitch after missing the World Cup and the opening of the Serie A campaign will be an absolute joy for Montolivo, it spells bad news for van Ginkel.
It adds yet another midfielder into the mix that van Ginkel will have to compete with, and one that as the captain of the side, Inzaghi will be inclined to include.
The Dutchman has already found himself kept in reserve by the likes of Sulley Muntari, Andrea Poli, Michael Essien and the essential Nigel de Jong.
Now, there’s Montolivo too. It’s something of a blow for van Ginkel, who needed an opening to get his foot in the door but is now less likely to get one.
There’s still plenty of time for him to assert himself at San Siro, yet Montolivo’s presence won’t help.
An unproductive loan is the last thing van Ginkel needed this season. Hopefully for his sake he can turn things around, rising to the challenge and flourishing in the face of adversity.
Otherwise, his prospects back at Stamford Bridge are likely to suffer. Mourinho wants to see progress, and van Ginkel needs to be on the field week in week out to improve his game.