Chelsea’s capture of Everton academy graduate Ross Barkley has prompted thousands of Palace fans into wondering if it has left them open to a possible sale of Ruben Loftus-Cheek in the summer, following his successful loan stint with us.
The 21-year-old south Londoner took the decision to join Palace last August having grown frustrated by the lack of first-team opportunities on offer at Stamford Bridge and his since established himself as a first-team regular in SE25. Combining strength and pace with technical brilliance, he’s proved himself to be more than good enough to mix it with the Premier League’s elite, leaving the vast majority of Palace’s fans extremely keen on the idea of keeping him here for the long haul.
Having made his full England debut recently and with a World Cup in Russia on the horizon this summer, we should probably expect to have to pay close to £40 million for his services, should the Blues be willing to even entertain the idea of a sale but with rumoured interest in him from the likes of Liverpool and Tottenham alongside ourselves, we may have our work cut out in persuading him that south London is the right place for his game to flourish best.
Thankfully, Ruben himself appears to have bought fully into the ethos of the club since first pulling on a red and blue shirt. Celebrating each and every goal with a sense of gusto not normally attributed to players who are only with us in a short-term capacity. Perhaps it’s just his personality but the obvious passion on show from him whenever we find the back of the net has raised by hopes over a potential purchase far more than I had initially expected when he arrived with Antonio Conte’s blessing before the season got underway.
In truth, the fact that Chelsea didn’t see fit to use Ruben in their own first-team this term feels like negligence on their part, particularly when you consider the vast sums of cash they paid to bring in Tiemoue Bakayoko from Monaco, who from what I’ve seen, is certainly no better a player than Loftus-Cheek. It is almost certainly because of decisions like that within the Chelsea hierarchy that Ruben asked to go out on loan, having gone on record since saying that he’s never been happier than he is at Selhurst Park.
Both he and Wilfried Zaha have had a taste of life at a stereotypical “big club” and appear to have discovered the joys of representing one which isn’t tasked with success at all costs each season. Should we be able to engineer a scenario in which both are on our books in a full-time capacity by the time the 2018/19 season begins, Steve Parish and co. will have pulled off a real coup for the football club in my view.
Whilst it’s not my money, in today’s market, I don’t feel as though we’d be getting bad value for money if we did indeed stump up £40 for RLC’s permanent signature.