Ruben Loftus-Cheek is carefully considering his options ahead of tomorrow night’s transfer deadline and Express Sport understands he could be set to leave Chelsea once and for all. While nothing has been decided as of yet, clubs from the Premier League and Italy have expressed an interest in signing the midfielder both on loan and on a permanent basis.
The 25-year-old, who recently tested positive for COVID-19, was back among the substitutes as Chelsea drew 1-1 at Anfield on Saturday but Thomas Tuchel has warned Loftus-Cheek his playing time will be limited.
While he impressed in phases during pre-season, competition is fierce in the middle of the park with N’Golo Kante, Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic all at the top of their game, meaning Loftus-Cheek’s best chance of playing regularly lies elsewhere.
There is also still a chance Chelsea could complete the signing of Saul Niguez from Atletico Madrid – on loan with a permanent option – before the transfer deadline and that would push Loftus-Cheek even further down the midfield pecking order.
Furthermore, it’s understood there are question marks about where he fits into Tuchel’s 3-4-2-1 system.
Historically, Loftus-Cheek has played his best football in the No 10 role but Chelsea are currently operating with two central midfielders and two advanced forwards behind Romelu Lukaku.
A late move would be nothing new for Loftus-Cheek, who joined Fulham on loan on deadline day last October.
Former Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri has reportedly shown an interest in linking up with his former midfielder once again.
Sarri has already signed ex-Chelsea winger Pedro from Roma as part of his Lazio revolution and the Serie A club are one of several possible destinations for Loftus-Cheek.
The Italian showed great faith in the England international during his time in west London and Loftus-Cheek’s best-ever season at Chelsea came under Sarri in 2018/19, when he struck 10 goals in all competitions.
Speaking at the start of the month, Loftus-Cheek promised to hit the ground running this season, a vow that he’s been unable to fulfil due to injury and a positive COVID-19 test.
Yet after the 2-1 friendly win at Arsenal, Tuchel made it clear that Loftus-Cheek had the right to decide his own future, hinting that he would not stand in his way if he wanted to leave.
“It’s too early to judge Ruben,” said Tuchel. “He has everything in his hands. He can decide his own future.”