Chelsea midfielder Marco van Ginkel is being linked with a surprise season-long loan move to Sunderland as the Premier League champions prepare to let the Dutchman leave west London again on another temporary deal.
The 22-year-old spent the 2014/15 campaign in Italy with Serie 'A' giants AC Milan but endured a disrupted spell at the San Siro due to a number of injury problems.
Van Ginkel regained his fitness and form towards the end of last term and finished the season strongly before reaching the end of his agreement with Pippo Inzaghi's side.
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Some reports had suggested that Milan wanted to keep the former Vitesse Arnhem starlet again next season, but it appears that Jose Mourinho would prefer the player to gain more experience playing in England's top-flight.
With first-team opportunities likely to be limited at Stamford Bridge over the next 12 months the Portuguese coach is happy to let Van Ginkel link up with his compatriot Dick Advocaat at the Stadium of Light.
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The Black Cats boss is eager to strengthen a squad that only just avoided relegation to the Championship, and the Blues ace is seen as a viable target that would add another creative option to his ranks on Wearside.
"For my development it is crucial next season to get a full year of play," Van Ginkel was quoted saying by Voetbal International. "The chance that this can [happen] already at Chelsea, is small."
Reading between the lines it looks as though the player is keen to depart west London again as he continues his rehabilitation from that serious anterior cruciate ligament injury he suffered in September 2013.
The Holland U21 international had just started to make a senior breakthrough at Chelsea when his season was brought to an abrupt end in the most untimely of fashions, and so far he's failed to ever fully get back to the kind of form he was showing at that time.
Age is still very much on Van Ginkel's side, though, and a full year of regular football with Sunderland could help him replicate the kind of performances he was producing in the Eredivisie that prompted the Blues to pay around £8 million for his signature.
Chelsea fans: Do you think Marco van Ginkel still has a future at Stamford Bridge? Will a temporary move to Sunderland benefit his development long-term? Have your say below...
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