It was almost exactly eight years ago that Marco van Ginkel was officially confirmed as Chelsea’s second major signing of the 2013 transfer window. He was the second new piece to the puzzle for incoming manager José Mourinho, having been earmarked for a first-team squad role and adding to our growing collection of sparking young talent, like Eden Hazard (22), Oscar (21), Romelu Lukaku (20), Thibaut Courtois (21), André Schürrle (22), and Kevin De Bruyne (20).
True to his word, and unlike with some of those mentioned above, Mourinho wasted little time in giving minutes to Van Ginkel, who was competing against much older and more experienced players in Lampard, Ramires, Mikel, and a mostly crocked Michael Essien. The 20-year-old made late cameos in our first two Premier League matches of the season, started the first game of our Champions League group stage campaign, and, for what was his fourth appearance (and second start) in our first eight games, started our League Cup third round match as well.
Not 10 minutes into that game against Swindon Town, it all came crumbling down. ACL tears may not be automatically career-threatening anymore, especially at a young age, but for Marco, it was the start of a devastating series of knee injuries, surgeries, rehabilitations, restarts, and recurrences. The most recent of those took him out of action for nearly 1000 days.
But Van Ginkel persevered when most probably would have not. And he got his reward towards the end of last season, while on loan (again) with PSV, whom he then joined last week on a free transfer. Van Ginkel had already captained them once to an Eredivisie title in 2018, in a rare injury-free moment, but now he’s joined them for good after getting released by Chelsea.
It may not be too late for the 28-year-old to carve out a solid career yet, certainly not with the mentality he’s shown over much of the past decade. He couldn’t have done it without the proper support of course, which included Chelsea, whom he thanked on Instagram today as he sets out to join preseason training with PSV.
“I want to thank @chelseafc for the last 8 years. A big thank you to the club for the unconditional support, especially during my periods of rehabilitation. Thanks to the staff, my former teammates and the fans as well. I felt at home from the very first moment in London #CFC #chelsea”
-Marco van Ginkel; source: Instagram
Best of luck, Marco! Hope to see you again some day.