As a new week begins there’s yet another story linking Ruben Loftus-Cheek with a January move to Palace, following suggestions that the man himself has informed Maurizio Sarri of his decision to leave Stamford Bridge in the New Year.
Having initially decided to stick it out and fight for his place in the Blues first-team after his displays in 2017/18 saw him selected as part of Gareth Southgate’s World Cup squad in Russia, Ruben was no doubt hoping to ride the wave of euphoria straight into the starting XI under Chelsea’s new Italian gaffer but reality has bitten hard in the 2 months since the new campaign began, forcing the 22-year-old to reassess his options.
Whilst the likes of Fabregas, Willian, Pedro, Hazard and Kante were already established members of the midfield hierarchy, Loftus-Cheek has also been forced to contend with the arrivals of Jorginho and Kovacic, not to mention the rise to prominence of Ross Barkley. It doesn’t take much analysis to work out that the fight for minutes is fierce on the Fulham Road, leaving the Lewisham native scratching his head over how to force his way up the pecking order.
No one at Selhurst Park thought ill of Ruben for wanting to go back to Chelsea in a bid to prove himself but as the January window edges ever closer, it seems more and more likely that he’ll be forced to move elsewhere if he is serous about getting regular Premier League starts in the near future.
Palace can be certain of a fight to secure his signature with Everton and Arsenal known to be keen but for Hodgson and Steve Parish, the positive recent history we share with the midfielder will hopefully act as a huge plus in his deliberations over where to go. When all is said and done, he can be certain of regular minutes in SE25, which is sure to be his main concern in the immediate future. Whether or not that sees him plumping for Palace ahead of anyone else remains to be seen but there’s certainly a degree of logic in it from my point of view.
It’s a story which simply hasn’t gone away since Ruben left us in May, hopefully there’s a positive outcome for all concerned early on in 2019.