Chelsea midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek has admitted that he doesn’t know where his long-term future lies after producing a string of fine performances for Palace since joining the club on loan over the summer.
The 21-year-old, who has always been highly thought of by those in the game, has gone from strength to strength under the guidance of Roy Hodgson and is now looked upon as an obvious starter for the Eagles from week to week. On Saturday, he played a pivotal role in the team’s 3-0 win over Leicester City alongside the likes of Wilfried Zaha, Andros Townsend and Christian Benteke, not that he’s allowing any of the hype to go to his head.
Having spent the best part of four years trying and failing to break into the Chelsea first-team despite his obvious quality, the sheer novelty of playing regular Premier League football appears to be all Ruben needs to be happy as things stand, leading to speculation surrounding his long-term ambitions. Clearly, we as a club would love to keep him but with Gareth Southgate looking more and more likely to involve in England’s squad for the 2018 World Cup in Russia, his price tag may simply prove too astronomic for us to feasibly consider.
The man himself has already spoken at length about the fantastic atmosphere Palace fans generate at Selhurst Park and appears to have bought into the club’s values quicker than the majority of loan players we welcome through the doors, not that we can be sure of him willingly turning his back on the club he’s spent years with on the strength of a single campaign in our colours.
For someone who is still so young, it’s fair to say that Loftus-Cheek has all the tools necessary to remain at the top of the game for the next decade or so. Tall, quick, strong and technically superb, he established himself as a key cog in the Palace midfield incredibly quickly, which shines a light on the lack of trust Chelsea had in him all along. Just this summer, they decided to spend big on Tiemoue Bakayoko, only for countless Blues fans to question what, if anything, the Frenchman does better than the lad they’ve allowed to represent Palace between August and May.
It goes without saying that I’d love to see Ruben put pen to paper on a permanent deal with us next summer but there’s a huge amount of water which must pass under the bridge before then. As of right now, he’s pulling up trees on a weekly basis and appears extremely happy to be doing so. Where that feeling of contentment leads is anybody’s guess.