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Why Mourinho wants Van Ginkel at Chelsea to succeed Lampard

Jose Mourinho already has his Frank Lampard succession plan in place - and he's Dutch.

Mourinho was barely days into his Chelsea return when he was giving Marco van Ginkel a tour of Stamford Bridge and the club's Cobham training facilities.

Some details between clubs still need to be ironed out - and Mourinho has been on the phone since the U21 European Championships to assure Van Ginkel he wants him in London. A deal has all but been agreed, despite rival interest from Manchester United, courtesy of the friendship between Vitesse owner Merab Jordania and Roman Abramovich.

"Things have gone well for me," Van Ginkel says, before joking, "it just doesn't seem to stop for me, hey?"

The 20 year-old made his Holland debut last season and admits he saw the landmark as a significant step in his career.

"For me it is a reward and a sign that I'm well on the way. Now the hope is that I can stay at this level. After that game, my phone was ringing off the hook. Many people congratulated me.

"I hope the upward trend continues and I can go further."

It's little wonder Mourinho has pencilled a place for Van Ginkel in his future Chelsea plans.

The son of former Utrecht pro Alex van Ginkel, Marco has spent his entire career with Vitesse after being spotted by scouts as a junior with village team SV de Valleivogels.

And ever since he was given a first team debut at 17 by former Vitesse coach Theo Bos, Van Ginkel has been likened to Blues legend Lampard. By his own admission, Van Ginkel regards himself as a pure, box-to-box midfielder, capable of scoring regularly in the Lampard mould.

"I am indeed what you call a box-to-box player. The fitness available to me is a strong point of mine as a footballer. That way, I can defensively and offensively make my contribution to the team."

For many in Dutch football, Van Ginkel has been one of the big winners from Jordania's revolution at Vitesse.

Before the Georgian's takeover, many inside the local game were aware of the teenage Van Ginkel, but weren't rating him in the first rung of his generation. But with Jordania's arrival came a better standard of player, greater competition and this has kicked Van Ginkel's game along.

Now, at 20, he's established himself as one of his nation's great, new hopes. Holland U21 coach Cor Pot went with Van Ginkel ahead of the much-fancied Jordy Clasie, of Feyenoord, in his midfield for the Euros - which split opinion back home.

"The Netherlands has 16 million people who have an opinion, and they all have something to say about selection," shrugged Pot when asked about the controversy.

Internally, Van Ginkel's arrival will lift morale among Chelsea's football staff. While Mourinho has been very much the public face of their pursuit, he is acting on the information gathered by football director Michael Emenalo and loan scout Eddie Newton, who have both painstakingly kept track of Van Ginkel's progress over the past two years.

Supported by the recommendation of Abramovich's chief transfers advisor, Piet de Visser, Van Ginkel's signing will be a celebrated symbol - inside Chelsea - of the Mourinho era MK II.

Chris Beattie
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Chris Beattie

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