Back on track: Van Ginkel’s development resumes with loan to AC Milan from Chelsea
“I want to play a lot of games here and get regular playing time,” Marco van Ginkel said upon his arrival at San Siro. “I feel that Milan will give me this possibility in a big league with a strong team.”
The 21-year-old midfielder sums up his objective for the season perfectly as he joins AC Milan on loan from Chelsea looking to get his promising career back on track after an unlucky spell at Stamford Bridge.
A cruciate ligament injury suffered during the early days of last season kept him out of action for six months, having played just four matches for the London giants.
The 11 minutes he played across the first two Premier League games and the start he made in the Champions League match against Basel suggested he would be eased into the Chelsea team, acclimatising to the massive step up he had made from playing in the Eredivisie with Vitesse. Sadly, though, as he lined up in the first-team in a League Cup match with Swindon, it all went horribly wrong as he left the field after just 10 minutes with the horrendous injury.
Since then, Van Ginkel hasn’t featured for the Chelsea first-team and the progress of one of the brightest midfielders the Netherlands has at the moment has been halted and, quite simply, it must resume as soon as possible.
“A dynamic, box-to-box midfielder” by his own description, Van Ginkel’s pace, skill, technical ability and excellent energy and stamina will add a great deal to the Milan midfield. Likened to fellow Dutchman Kevin Strootman, the 21-year-old is a bit less about power and more about refinement than his countryman, who is three years his senior. His versatility stands out, as he has impressed as both a 10 and a holding midfielder for Vitesse and Jong Oranje.
While he doesn’t possess the strength or holding ability of Nigel De Jong, he will help tie the midfield together, slotting in, most likely, to make a trio with the former Ajax and Manchester City player as well as Andrea Poli. His athleticism and close control will allow Filippo Inzaghi’s team to become a more fluid unit as he keeps using the 4-3-3 formation he used in the youth academy in the first team.
The new loanee was a crucial player for Vitesse as they looked to step up and challenge the likes of Ajax, PSV and Feyenoord to the title as he linked up with Wilfried Bony. While the Ivorian striker was seen as the star of the team with his 31 league goals, it was the midfielder who was arguably their most important player as his injection of speed and his constant movement as well as his eight goals and eight assists gave them a clinical edge throughout the pitch.
Milan will benefit from the impressive engine in the Dutch youngster and he will add a great deal of support to a front three of ex-Chelsea team-mate Fernando Torres, Stephan El Shaarawy and Keisuke Honda.
Importantly, though, is that Van Ginkel use the time to get his development back on track. From his time in Arnhem, he looked to have the capabilities and the potential to reach a very high level. While the move to Chelsea came earlier than he or anyone else expected, it seemed to be a height he was destined to reach eventually.
One of the most impressive things about Van Ginkel in the Netherlands was that he seemed to improve a huge amount every single season and his incredibly professional attitude saw him strive to keep progressing as a player. It came as such a shock and a real shame that he was denied the chance to do so yet again when his injury struck. Thus, he has to do as he hopes and become a key player for his new club and resume that development.
The Italian club has shown to be a great step for fellow Netherlands international De Jong, who has developed his game a great deal in the red and black jersey and has now attracted the interest of Manchester United, having played a huge part in his country’s third place finish at the World Cup. Kevin Strootman has also become a huge hit in Italy because of his remarkable displays at Roma before his horrific injury.
At Milan, Van Ginkel will be able to learn from the likes of De Jong, Michael Essien and of course the great Inzaghi. Italian football is completely different to that in England and Netherlands, which will see him develop new aspects to his game.
The loan move is one which suits Milan a great deal as they bring in a quality young player who, once he gets back into the rhythm of first team football, will boos their team significantly. Van Ginkel, though, gets a golden opportunity to pick up where he left off and keep growing into the quality midfielder he promises to be.