Chelsea began preparing for a new era last summer. There were changes at board level as the legendary Petr ?ech was introduced to the fold, and plans stepped up after Frank Lampard was instated as manager.
The goal was to get away from the toxic habits which had plagued Chelsea in recent years – poor spending, atrocious youth involvement and rash managerial sackings.
Striking early deals to sign Hakim Ziyech and Timo Werner (reportedly) covers the first point, Lampard’s use of no less than ten academy graduates covers the second and the decision to stick by the boss through some poor runs of form is the third. Check, check, check.
Just when everything at Chelsea started making sense, the Blues threw a spanner in the works by offering a new contract to Marco van Ginkel.
Now this is no slight on Van Ginkel, who’s obviously going to take a guaranteed pay day in his situation. He’s a dedicated professional who has struggled horribly with injuries and clearly has something to offer a team somewhere. However, does anyone at Chelsea truly believe he can offer that at Stamford Bridge?
Van Ginkel hasn’t played for Chelsea in seven years and hasn’t kicked a ball in a competitive fixture in over two years. That, by definition, is a player who doesn’t have a future at the club, and Chelsea surely have to be aware of that.
The lack of faith in Van Ginkel is why Chelsea have developed Billy Gilmour, Conor Gallagher and Tino Anjorin, It’s why they handed huge new contracts to Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Mason Mount. It’s why Mateo Kova?i? was signed permanently.
There’s no space for Van Ginkel in the squad. That’s not an opinion, that’s a fact. The only reason Chelsea have handed him a new contract is to preserve what little value the 27-year-old still has.
Over the years, Chelsea have made a habit of tying unwanted fringe players down to new contracts and shipping them out on pointless loans. Look at Lucas Piazon, who has gone through deal after deal for no reason whatsoever.
Chelsea are keeping him around just to earn a pointlessly small fee through loans and a potential sale down the line. The damage to the club’s reputation outweighs the financial ‘profit’.
Piazon is the poster boy for all that is wrong with Chelsea’s business. It’s hoarding assets for hoarding’s sake. Just let the unwanted players go and spend your time developing actual stars for the first team, or at least players who will raise a considerable fee when sold, like soon-to-be £13m Atalanta signing Mario Pašali?.
Chelsea will likely tie Van Ginkel down to a new contract and send him out on loan this summer. PSV Eindhoven are known admirers, but they’re not going to throw a boat load of money at a player who hasn’t kicked a ball in two years.
PSV (or anyone else) will take him on loan, avoid paying a large part of his wages to cover their own backs and then maybe pay a small fee to sign him permanently. What’s the point?
That’s the question that has been asked too often at Stamford Bridge in recent years: what’s the point?
Sure, this isn’t the biggest of problems. It’s not like Chelsea are spending £35m on Danny Drinkwater again, but that’s not the point. This kind of thing isn’t what the ‘new Chelsea’ is about.
Fans of the Blues will watch on and support Van Ginkel on his quest to become healthy and happy once more. He has worked incredibly hard to get back to a position where he is able to play football again.
He deserves a break, but he would have found that break at another club who would have actually had a concrete plan for him.
The loan army is supposed to be shrinking, but moves like this aren’t helping.
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