Remember Marco van Ginkel? He’s now 26 years of age and still a Chelsea player.
Signed from feeder club Vitesse Arnhem for a fee of £8 million in 2013, only Gary Cahill, Cesar Azpilicueta and Eden Hazard have been at Chelsea longer than him, but the Dutch midfielder has made just two Premier League appearances for the Blues.
He’s been loaned out to AC Milan and Stoke City as well as PSV Eindhoven, where he spent the last three seasons and became a huge fan favourite.
Van Ginkel lifted two Eredivisie titles in his native Netherlands and proved his worth as a goalscoring midfielder by netting 31 goals in 64 games – including 16 in 33 last term as he captained the red and whites to the league title.
The Netherlands international was poised to join PSV on a permanent deal but suffered another serious knee injury and had to undergo surgery in July.
He’s been doing his recovery in West London and though he still likely has another month to go before he can join in first-team training, van Ginkel has replaced Cesc Fabregas in Maurizio Sarri’s Premier League squad.
While there’s a fair few midfielders ahead of him in the pecking order, van Ginkel has been handed a lifeline. If he does manage to work his way into the first-team picture, it will be one hell of a story.