Valencia have their eye on bringing former Barcelona youth back to Spain
Lack of first team chances could force talented prospect back to his homeland
Valencia are reportedly weighing up a bid for Chelsea youngster Oriol Romeu after sending scouts to watch the former Barcelona B midfielder in Spain’s recent under-21 victory over Croatia.
The Blues are 19/10 with Ladbrokes to top the Premier League pile at Christmas following their impressive start to the campaign.
However, hawking out promising talents such as Romeu is not the way to maintain prominence.
The holding midfielder showed glimpses of his ability during his 22 appearances under Andre Villas Boas, but has only figured twice under Roberto Di Matteo.
These games were, in effect, Chelsea reserve games as they rotated the squad in the league games as cup glory became their priority.
Romeu’s class was on display in the Arsenal game, in particular, where he anchored a second-string midfield that managed to stifle the Gunners creative talent and help his side record a goalless draw, yet even this did nothing to force Di Matteo’s hand.
The Spaniard has been repeatedly overlooked in favour of John Obi Mikel since Di Matteo’s arrival at Stamford Bridge and a move back to Spain could be in order if Romeu wishes to continue his development.
Barcelona agreed a buy back clause when they sold Romeu to the west Londoners before the start of last season but, following Alex Song’s arrival at the Camp Nou to supplement their unparalleled reserves of midfield quality, another reserve role would be the best he could hope for there.
Valencia bear a lot of similarities to Chelsea, disregarding the financial aspect, of course. They can offer Champions League football as well as the promise of competition at the top-end of the La Liga table. They would, therefore, represent a logical step forward for Romeu.
If first team opportunities are still sparse come the opening of the January transfer window, Romeu could well be on the move, but selling him would be a big risk for the Blues.
Mikel, despite Di Matteo’s obvious appreciation of him, is a very one-dimensional player, more noted for his conservative passing approach and creative ineptitude – favouring to shift the ball sideways and backwards – than for his swashbuckling midfield displays.
Romeu is as comfortable in possession as you’d expect any graduate of Barcelona’s youth system to be and has shown he has the tenacity to cope with the intensity of Premier League midfield battle.
Plus, if Mikel were to pick up an injury, Chelsea would be desperately short of cover in that department without Romeu following Michael Essien’s loan move to Real Madrid.
If Di Matteo’s men have designs on making waves at the business end of the season, little good could come from flogging Romeu back to Spain. They may find themselves better served in the short-term giving him a few more opportunities now to appease any frustrations he may be feeling regarding his current inactivity.
All odds and markets correct as of publication