Last time we heard from Oriol Romeu, the on-loan defensive midfielder spoke of his wish to give up this ever-changing loanee life and find some "stability" in his football world. It's an understandable aim, especially for a player who's worked so hard to rebuild his career after a major knee injury and several unfortunate coincidences and blocked career paths.
"I was entering into the [Barcelona] first-team picture but my route was blocked. Sergio Busquets had established himself and Javier Mascherano had arrived. Villas-Boas came in for me. [...] When AVB called, he said I would train with the first-team and I'd have opportunities to play. He wanted to implement a style of play that was similar to Barcelona."
'Once he was was sacked, Roberto Di Matteo came in and he reverted to more experienced names. I understand why. I have no problem at all with Roberto, I was training hard under him, adapting to what he wanted. He just said to be patient and my time will come."
"Rafa Benitez then came in and he was very good. He tried to sign me on loan for Napoli last summer but I had already agreed the deal with Stuttgart by that point. He worked unbelievably hard on the tactical side of the game at Chelsea. I broke back into the team when he took over. His organisation, structure and attention-to-detail was excellent."
"Then I suffered the knee injury at Sunderland. It is two and half years ago now - it remains the last time I played for Chelsea."
-Oriol Romeu; source: Mail
Successful loans to Valencia and now Stuttgart have followed, sandwiching a new three-year deal and a preseason with Chelsea. He is looking forward to joining up with the Blues once again this summer (after, hopefully, saving Stuttgart from relegation) as he still harbors of hope of making the grade (once again) here.
"Last summer, I was training with the team in pre-season. Then the club explained that they were looking at a loan deal. They said they believe in me but it was best for my development this season to play regularly. They said they see me as part of their future. I look at Nemanja Matic, for example, the way he went away for a while and then came back and I'd love to replicate that. I still dream of making it properly at Chelsea."
"I still do not know what will happen next season - of course I would love to return to Chelsea but I also want to be playing football."
-Oriol Romeu; source: Mail
Our overabundance of non-homegrown players isn't helping Romeu's chances unfortunately — just like it isn't helping his fellow knee-injury victim Marco van Ginkel — but Romeu had once (almost?) proven himself to be a capable presence in the Chelsea midfield. While subsequent arrival Nemanja Matic isn't likely to be displaced anytime soon, Romeu, who's still just 23, could conceivably push somebody like Mikel for playing time (again) and help resurrect some of the "fun" debates we had back in the AVB days about those two. Actually, scratch that last bit. And of course there are still the considerations about, for example, Ruben Loftus-Cheek or any potential major signing to contend with. So many options, so few spots!
Be sure to click over to the Mail to read the rest of Romeu's interview. He talks about training with Messi, getting tutored by Luis Enrique, touring London with Mata, getting welcomed by Terry, and interacting with Eddie Newton, who's in charge of monitoring Chelsea's loanees around Europe.