Oriol Romeu quietly made his way out the exit door yesterday as another long term Chelsea investment failed to pay off. Signed from Barcelona in 2011 after making one first team appearance, Romeu made only 22 appearances in Chelsea colours over a 4 year period.
During that time he also spent time out on loan at both Valencia and, last season, at Stuttgart.
The Blues will recieve £5 million which will work out slightly more than the €5 million they paid for him back in 2011 so the loss financially will be minimal (if anything at all). The overriding feeling is more the disappointment that he didn’t quite make the breakthrough at Stamford Bridge under a plethora of different managers. Whenever a young player signs, particularly from the Barcelonas of the world, then the hope that they will fulfil their potential is high.
So much so that Barcelona put in clauses that they could buy back Romeu for €10 million and then €15 million for the first two years of his contract with Chelsea.
Now Ronald Koeman and Southampton will aim to get the best out of the 23 year old who made a full 27 appearances in the Bundesliga last season. For me it’s another shrewd signing for Southampton who go about their business in a clinical and efficient fashion.
Not only that, the Saints play football in a way that means Romeu won’t need to adapt his style much, if at all. And Romeu has been quick to point out that he wouldn’t have moved to just any club:
“That’s what I was looking for when I came here – a coach like him who can teach me a lot. He knows life as a player, and it will be very good for me to work under Ronald Koeman.”
It’ll be with a keen eye that we watch Romeu’s progression from this point – he needs to be playing first team football at 23 and few can begrudge him this move.
The feeling still lingers that, given a chance at Chelsea, he may well have proved his worth to the club in time – something we’ll never have the opportunity to find out.