Chelsea FC have had a decently busy transfer window till date, which is pretty much expected for a club with the stature and financial prowess that the Blues boast of. If previously the policy of the club seemed to be buying already world class or great players to strengthen the squad, this policy seems to have changed, probably for the better, in the past few years.
Their new policy seems to be buying young, potentially great players and letting them develop in one of the best academies in England, rather than buy them when they are already world class and would probably need a hefty sum of money to be roped in.
It is the result of this policy that has resulted in the signings of Andre Schurrle and Marco Van Ginkel from Bayer Leverkusen and Vittese Arnhem respectively.
Chelsea’s first signing this transfer window, Schurrle is an interesting player. He is capable of playing as a wide attacker and up front, while also being able to fill the No. 10 role in a pinch. Having already been capped for the German national side 24 times, the 22 year old is already well acquainted with performing at the highest possible level every match.
With his primary position on the left being occupied by Belgian wonderkid Eden Hazard, Schurrle might have to slot in to the right side of the attack. His blistering pace and well above average technical ability have already made him a popular name in Germany, and this is what could prove most useful to Chelsea.
Being able to back up as a striker in times of need also means that it can free up a slot on the bench for another player, and with the amount of attacking talent that Chelsea possess in their team right now, that could be a valuable asset.
Schurrle also has a very decent work rate in defense, and can put in a shift as and when the fullbacks need cover. This is also a vital quality that none of Chelsea’s other pure attackers possess, with the exception of Victor Moses.
Having said, that the most important reason he could be a potential first team player is because of his ability to play multiple roles. As has been abundantly clear, Jose Mourinho has always utilized multi-role players in his team. The example of Frank Lampard, from his previous Chelsea tenure, and Wesley Sneijder, from Inter, come to mind.
Jose loves players who can perform more than one role in a team at one time, and Schurrle’s ability to finish and create attacks with equal ease will certainly help. He will be competing for a first team berth with the likes of Oscar and Kevin De Bryune; which will probably mean he will be a squad player (albeit an important one), but he certainly has the skill set and ability to be a super-sub of sorts – Mourinho’s go-to guy when another attacker is having an off day or injury.
Marco Van Ginkel:
A Dutch U21 international signed for just €8 million, Van Ginkel is a dynamic midfielder who can play across the line in a standard 4-3-3 formation.
A player who has shown a lot of maturity at a very young age, he is the kind of midfield presence Chelsea have sorely missed since letting Ballack leave. Although he has yet a lot to prove to be considered in the league of the charismatic German, Van Ginkel has a very similar playing style.
Suited perfectly well to playing in a midfield band of 3 and as a pivot midfielder in a 4-2-3-1, both of which are, incidentally, his new manager’s preferred formations, the young Dutchman has a very good reading of the game. Already able to recognize and block out passing lanes and take charge of an opposing player as necessity dictates, Van Ginkel is far more developed as a player than most 20-year old central midfielders are.
He is naturally suited to play in a double pivot, with a more defensive minded player with him rather than acting as the defensive player himself. An excellent pass distribution ability just adds to his worth in recycling possession, as well as transitioning from defense to attack. Be it playing a simple forward pass to start a move or a long trajectory towards a team-mate running on the counter, Van Ginkel can do it all.
Even in a midfield trio, Van Ginkel can play on both sides, while also possessing the technical ability to tackle and shield the defense acceptably well when his team is on the attack. For all his attributes and talents though, Marco is not yet of the caliber that he can hold down a spot in Chelsea’s strongest 11, but will probably be one of the most influential players in the midfield for the Blues from the bench in the face of squad rotation, as the manager tries to keep all his players fresh.
Van Ginkel is definitely one who can help the cause this season, but he seems more of a buy who has been brought in for the future.
Keeping the abilities and qualities of both players in mind, it is difficult to come to a conclusion as to who would have the bigger impact on Chelsea’s season.
Schurrle has the advantage of being more mature and better developed, but faces more than stiff competition if he wants to get minutes. Van Ginkel may not be as far down the development road as Schurrle, but has tremendous potential, which when coupled with the fact that Chelsea are not really deep when it comes to genuine midfielders, could see him get a significant amount of minutes.
Schurrle may just have a better impact and be more helpful to the Chelsea mission this season, but Van Ginkel definitely seems like the brighter prospect.