His immediate thoughts are likely to revolve solely around the upcoming World Cup in Russia but on the domestic front, Chelsea’s Ruben Loftus-Cheek is now believed to be the subject of some serious interest from West Ham, alongside long-term admirers Crystal Palace.
Having taken the plunge and agreed to a season-long loan deal at Selhurst Park last summer, the midfielder impressed Gareth Southgate enough to earn a full call-up back in November and will now be hoping to have a similarly positive impact in tournament-play, should be given the chance to do so in June.
Given the fine form Ruben enjoyed in red and blue, the interest Roy Hodgson has in securing another short or long-term deal for him will come as a surprise to no one but with new West Ham boss Manuel Pellegrini now getting his feet under the table at the London Stadium, it seems as though he is keen to jump ahead of the Eagles agree a deal for the 22-year-old.
Despite those behind the scenes in SE25 making it clear that we would be happy to explore the possibility of agreeing a fee with Chelsea this summer, it sounds as though the Blues are currently rather keen on the idea of using Loftus-Cheek as part of their own first-team from the start of the 2018/19 campaign, with prospective new boss Maurizio Sarri well known for his love of working with a club’s existing academy players.
When you factor in the potential boost in reputation Ruben will receive with even one or two cameo appearances at the World Cup, both Palace and West Ham may be wasting their time completely this summer but if he doesn’t hit the ground running on the Fulham Road next term, I wouldn’t be surprised to see both clubs locked in a January battle for his signature, either on loan or full-time.
It has felt as though every one of Palace’s transfer targets over the last couple of years has also appeared on the Hammers’ radar. It could of course just be coincidence but it’s hard to escape the feeling that our respective scouting networks are peering at each other’s homework before recommending signings to their respective bosses.