Ruben Loftus-Cheek is not thinking any further ahead than England’s World Cup match against Tunisia on Monday. But when he gets around to it, he may have to make a difficult decision about where to ply his trade when the Premier League season fires back up in August.
Roy Hodgson has been outspoken about wanting him back for a second loan spell — or maybe even for purchase, if the price is right — at Selhurst Park. Whoever Chelsea’s manager ends up being will probably want to take a good look at him, too, before deciding whether he should stick with his parent club. And of course RLC himself will have a say in all that as his time at Palace has taught him the benefit of regular playing time and he says he won’t settle for less.
Now we may have a third entry in the race: Newcastle United. Tyneside’s Chronicle claim that it’s not just Kenedy whom Rafa Benitez would like from Chelsea. If he loses midfielder Mikel Merino, he might also try to entice Loftus-Cheek up north on loan. This isn’t the first time he’s shown interest; Newcastle made a play for a Ruben loan last season as well.
How that would all shake out, with Premier League rules limiting one club to a single loan to another club, is hard to say. Presumably Newcastle are too tight with their money to even attempt to buy RLC, even if Chelsea were willing to sell him. But would they value Kenedy enough to make a bid? Chelsea have supposedly set a £20m asking price on the 22-year-old, which would represent a Newcastle transfer record.
Choices, choices. Who says the loan system is broken?