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Chelsea insist Ruben Loftus-Cheek isn’t for sale, but may be available on loan

Unofficial statement from the club

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England v Panama: Group G - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images

Somebody inside silent Fortress Chelsea said something. That’s the only reasonable explanation for the two most well-sourced journalists on the Chelsea beat (and the Daily Mail, too) to come out with the exact same story at the exact same time about Ruben Loftus-Cheek.

With speculation mounting about where the Chelsea star-in-waiting will play next season, and with the player himself making no bones about wanting playing time, it looks like someone well connected decided to brief Matt Law and Dominic Fifield (and Sami Mokbel) that Ruben ain’t going nowhere.

That’s a tweet from Fifield of the Guardian, but it might as well have been from Law because his Telegraph story is identical. The upshot? Chelsea love Ruben and aren’t going to sell him no matter how good the rest of his World Cup is. But if he doesn’t fit with (presumed new coach) Maurizio Sarri’s plans then he’ll go back out on loan. Law has added yet another club to the list of suitors, West Ham. That brings us up to four, including Crystal Palace, Newcastle United and Everton.

There are a couple of interesting details to iron out. The first, maybe the simplest, is his contract. It expires in 2021 and if he does indeed go out on loan, Chelsea will try to add years and money to a new deal, as they’ve done with other players, like Marco van Ginkel or Victor Moses before.

The trickier detail is finding time for (presumably) Sarri to have a good look at RLC. The calendar is unforgiving, with the close of the transfer window coming August 9th this year. If Loftus-Cheek reports for club duty at the beginning of August after extended post-World Cup vacation, Sarri will only have a little over a week to evaluate him. The season itself begins on the 11th, so the whole process is going to be rushed, which is hardly the ideal way to start a relationship between player and coach.

Sarri is probably glued to his World Cup-tuned television/computer monitor just like the rest of us, so he can do some long-distance talent scouting. Maybe he’ll also be reading Ruben’s consistently mature comments. For example, the 22-year-old isn’t bothered that his shot against Panama deflected off an unaware Harry Kane and became the striker’s goal.

“The goal just hit his heel. That’s the luck he’s got right now, but I’m delighted he got his hat-trick. I’m not too fussed who gets given the goal. A goal’s a goal for the team, whoever gets it.”

Nor is he worried about Dele Alli reclaiming his spot in the lineup against Belgium on Thursday.

“I think we are different players. I’d say Dele likes to go in behind more and he gets in the box a lot. I like it more to feet. But Gareth [Southgate, the manager] knows that and he will choose who plays. It’s his decision.”

-Ruben Loftus-Cheek; source: Telegraph

That’s the kind of maturity every coach loves. The kind, we hope, that Maurizio Sarri will love.

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