Chelsea midfielder Oriol Romeu has admitted that he could quit Stamford Bridge for good next summer. The 22-year-old, who joined the Blues from Barcelona in 2011, is currently on loan at Stuttgart in the Bundesliga.
However, Romeu has conceded that his tenure as a Chelsea player could come to an end if Stuttgart offer to turn his loan move into a permanent switch.
"Maybe I am staying for a longer period of time," the former Spain Under-23 international was quoted as saying by the Daily Express. "You cannot rule anything out in football.
"I have experienced a technically demanding game in the Spanish league, football in England is more physical, and the Bundesliga is a mixture of that.
"My ambition is to quickly learn the German language."
Romeu: Barcelona cast-off
Romeu was snapped by Chelsea up for a reported €5 million three years ago after he failed to make the breakthrough at Barcelona.
He flourished in the Catalan giants’ B team, but was only handed one senior start by the then Barcelona head coach, Pep Guardiola.
The defensive midfielder made 24 appearances in his debut campaign with the Blues under former boss Andre Villas-Boas, but failed to get the same opportunities under the management of Roberto di Matteo and Rafael Benitez.
Peripheral role at Valencia
Following Jose Mourinho’s return to Stamford Bridge in the summer of 2013, Romeu agreed to move on loan to Valencia, where he played a peripheral role, making 18 appearances in all competitions over the course of the season.
With Mourinho still unconvinced that Romeu was ready for first-team football at Stamford Bridge, the club subsequently reached an agreement to send him on loan to Stuttgart for the duration of the 2014/15 campaign last month.
Romeu signed new Chelsea deal in July
This was despite the fact the player surprisingly put pen-to-paper on a three-year contract extension with Chelsea just a month earlier.
This now appears to have been a ploy by Chelsea to avoid losing Romeu on a free transfer. Despite his lack of first-team opportunities at Stamford Bridge, a host of top clubs are keen to secure his services on a permeant basis.
Mourinho is already well-stocked in the central midfield position, with Cesc Fabregas, Nemanja Matic and John Obi Mikel all competing to start.
Mikel, though, could now be in his final season at Stamford Bridge - and there’s a chance that Mourinho may opt to use Romeu as his third-choice central midfielder from the start of next season instead.