Chelsea fans were delighted to see the long-awaited return of loanee midfielder Marko van Ginkel for PSV Eindhoven last night.
Van Ginkel was playing his first match for 32 painstaking months that had been spent on the treatment table.
He had been recovering from ligament damage in his knee that forced him to miss the entirety of the 2018/19 and 2019/20 season.
Signed in 2013, the Dutchman has only made four senior appearances for Chelsea, separated by more injury problems and spells at AC Milan, Stoke City and PSV.
His three-minute cameo in the defeat to AZ Alkmaar was met with an outpouring of emotion from Blues supporters who were grateful for his recovery.
He joins a list of exciting youngsters with excellent potential who have joined Chelsea but never managed to call Stamford Bridge their home.
Kevin De Bruyne, Romelu Lukaku and Mohamed Salah are among the high-profile names to have fallen through the net.
All three secured permanent deals elsewhere, however there are plenty like Van Ginkel who are still holding out for a place in South West London.
The 28-year-old’s hopes will have been raised when the Blues offered him a contract extension last June, taking his non-existent Chelsea career into its eighth year.
Although a reunion with Frank Lampard looks unlikely, there were cries for the club to reinstate Van Ginkel’s service.
It came shortly before the news that fellow expat Lucas Piazon had finally sealed an indefinite move away from Chelsea. Braga bought the Brazilian after his seventh loan, ending nearly a decade long relationship with the Blues.
Before too long, Lampard will have to make a similar decision regarding Van Ginkel. His contract in Holland runs out this summer, but will the manager make room for his lost-long loanee?
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It is wonderful to see a player who has faced so many set-backs in his career overcome his long-term admission and get back onto the field.
Equally as emotional was the response to Van Ginkel and that he is still considered part of the Chelsea community.
Unfortunately, due to his age and injury history, I don’t think Lampard will take a risk on bringing him back in from the cold. Hopefully, he can settle in his native country and start afresh.