Chelsea have given Frank Lampard a contract extension but they have also signed the 20-year-old who might be his long-term replacement.
Marco van Ginkel will arrive at Chelsea from Vitesse Arnhem with the reputation as one of Europe’s foremost young box-to-box midfielders. He has long been compared to Lampard and has himself described Bastian Schweinsteiger as a role model . His all-round game has marked him out as one of the best of this great new Dutch generation.
Just 17 when he made his Eredivisie debut in 2010, Van Ginkel has since played three full seasons for Vitesse, impressing already with his boundless end-to-end energy, defensive awareness, passing range and goal-scoring capacity. It has led to widespread recognition – last season he won the coveted Johann Cruyff Award for best young player in Holland – won 10 years ago by Arjen Robben and then Wesley Sneijder.
Van Ginkel is part of a new generation close to displacing the old guard of the Dutch national team. He has already made his senior debut for the national team and was one of the most impressive players in the Under-21 team that reached the semi-finals of this summer’s European Championship in Israel, anchoring the midfield alongside Kevin Strootman, himself a target for Manchester United this summer.
Chelsea certainly need additions in midfield, having got through last season using only David Luiz, Ramires, Jon Obi Mikel and Lampard. They need some fresh energy in there, not just for this year when Lampard is still at Chelsea but for all those in the future when he is not. Van Ginkel could be just what they need.