Expectations have never been higher for Ruben Loftus-Cheek after impressing for Crystal Palace on loan last season and playing for England at the World Cup over the summer. In fact, for many, including RLC himself, probably, this is the make-or-break point for his career at the club he joined as an 8-year-old.
Things have not gone really gone according to plan however. Now 22, Ruben returned early from post-World Cup vacation, hoping to impress Maurizio Sarri. But the new Chelsea boss has preferred to give starts to Ross Barkley instead, with the former Everton man repaying that faith with a few fairly good performances. And the competition for minutes, so vital in the development of any young player, is only set to increase. Mateo Kovačić (now almost fit), Cesc Fàbregas (not yet fit) and Danny Drinkwater (still here!) are all vying for minutes alongside RLC, which could leave the Academy graduate out in the cold more often than not.
To wit, Loftus-Cheek was not in the matchday squad last weekend, and the weekend before, only got a 25-minute substitute appearance. At the moment, it seems quite unlikely that he’d get a start outside of League Cup (and later, FA Cup) or Europa League matches. And that has led to fresh speculation that he would leave before the end of the month. Sarri has talked with him a couple times however, and believes otherwise.
“[On RLC’s absence from the squad against Arsenal], it was only a decision about the positions, I chose to put two wingers on the bench and only one midfielder.”
“I’ve spoken with [Ruben] twice this week after I spoke to the club, I think Loftus will remain with us, we can speak again about his situation but only in December.”
-Maurizio Sarri; Source: Chelsea FC
So that’s pretty clear. There’s less than a week left for RLC to possibly leave on loan to a lower division in England or to Spain, France or Germany, but signs seem to point to him giving it a go at Chelsea until at least the winter transfer window.