Sam Allardyce has spoken of his joy at seeing Ruben Loftus-Cheek leaving Chelsea on loan to Crystal Palace, suggesting that the Blues have "blocked" the midfielder from reaching his outrageous potential.
Whilst Roman Abramovic's arrival at Stamford Bridge saw Chelsea's financial fortunes change overnight, the club have struggled to cultivate the next John Terry from their academy ranks, opting instead for a highly priced import. Of course, anyone who hasn't had their head buried in the sand for the last five years will know that the Blues have players out on loan all over the world as we speak but as Allardyce quite rightly says, Loftus-Cheek has never been afforded the same treatment.
Whether or not you like Chelsea's approach to youth development, (buy youngsters cheap, only to loan them out and sell at an immense profit further down the line) there is no denying that it is an extremely successful business model. Quite why they've not given that luxury to Ruben is a mystery but from the outside looking in, I would suggest it may have something to do with the huge potential the midfield man has to his game.
Until now, it looks as though the physically imposing 21-year-old has been on the cusp of making the step up without ever managing to force the manager's hand. Now, under de Boer's guidance at Palace, the England U21 star is likely to get the trust he desires, leaving him free to prove his worth to Chelsea's coaches and whoever else chooses to take an interest in his progression.
There will inevitably be plenty of people who slate Big Sam for comparing Loftus-Cheek's potential to the players he does in the quotes attached above but in truth, the names he references have only flourished as a consequence of regular game-time from trusting managers. It may sound a little rose-tinted from the former Palace boss but it's a fact.
I'm comforted to know that Allardyce is such a big fan of Loftus-Cheek, even if he doesn't speak quite so warmly about his parent club.