Valencia midfielder Oriol Romeu has revealed he is indebted to Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho for allowing him to join Los Che on loan for the upcoming campaign.
Romeu completed a season-long loan switch to the Liga club last week, having been widely reported to be surplus to requirements at Stamford Bridge.
The 21-year-old confirmed a number of other sides were also interested in acquiring his services, but that he only had his heart set on a move to Valencia.
“I’m grateful to Mourinho for letting me come to Valencia, which is where I wanted to go,” he told Marca. “When the loan deal went through I thanked Mourinho because other teams were offering a better deal for Chelsea, but the club understood my position and let me join Valencia.”
Romeu said that Mourinho had made it clear to him that he would not immediately be a starter at Chelsea, and that looking for playing time elsewhere would be a good idea.
“Mouninho explained that both Michael [Essien] and Frank [Lampard] were ahead of me in the pecking order and that I’d be alternating with them,” he said. “But he insisted that after a serious injury and at 21 years of age, I needed to be playing lots of games. He said that it would be difficult at Chelsea and it would be better to go to a team that can guarantee me more minutes.”
Speaking to Valencia coach Miroslav Djukic and Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic had persuaded Romeu to make the move, the midfielder revealed.
“I spoke to Djukic before coming here and he told me that he wanted his side to hold possession, dominate games and pressurise high up the pitch," he said. "It’s a style that I’ve always enjoyed. Ivanovic played under him for the Serbia Under-21s and he encouraged me to go for it.”
And despite Valencia’s failure to finish in the top four in La Liga last season, Romeu is confident that, with the talent in their squad, Los Che will be a dominant force in Spain again next term.
He said: “We have quality in defence with players like [Adil] Rami, [Jeremy] Mathieu, Victor Ruiz, Joao [Pereira] and [Aly] Cissokho, and we’ve got one of the best attacks in Europe.”