As we are all painfully well aware, since John Terry, Chelsea have failed to properly integrate an Academy product into the first-team, with many otherwise promising players now plying their trade elsewhere. Even if we count Ryan Bertrand, it's still not a very good record.
One of the players closest to bucking the trend is young midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek. Promoted from Chelsea's U21 team last season, the youngster was promised by José Mourinho to start a run of games but that has manifested in only a single 45-minute appearance against Aston Villa at Stamford Bridge. As Nemanja Matic and Cesc Fàbregas slowly rediscover their form (while Ramires also stepped up his game in the meantime), opportunities may be even more limited.
And so, here come the inevitable transfer rumors. According to Matt Law from the Telegraph, Chelsea fear José Mourinho's "tough love" on Loftus-Cheek might make them lose the youngster altogether, especially as he only has 18 months left on his contract. Chelsea don't want Loftus-Cheek to enter the final year of his current deal, and are looking to negotiate a new five-year contract as soon as possible. But the relative lack of first-team opportunities, combined with the public criticism supposedly have the Chelsea board and owner worried.
Watching all this with interested are several big clubs, including the likes of Manchester United and Bayern Munich. (Ed. note: If RLC is truly the next Pogba, does that mean we have to lose him first a la Ferguson and United?)
Given all the mixed signals Mourinho's sending in Loftus-Cheek's direction — swinging like a pendulum from extreme love to strong criticism — it wouldn't be too surprising if the 19-year-old weren't too keen on renewing with Chelsea. Hopefully we'll adjust accordingly, and fix the situation before it's too late.