It was somewhat surprising to see midfielder Ross Barkley leave Chelsea on loan before (instead of?) Ruben Loftus-Cheek, who is younger and presumably more talented than the former Everton “wonderkid”. There are however some obvious reasons we can surmise for that, including reservations stemming from RLC’s wages and injury record.
That’s confirmed in the Telegraph’s report of Barkley’s exit, wherein Matt Law reports that teams such as Aston Villa, who were reportedly interested in both players (though obviously not both at the same time), were concerned about those specific issues with Loftus-Cheek.
RLC’s reported £150,000 per week salary would be a bit too steep for most clubs in England, especially in COVID-19 circumstances (though Chelsea could subsidize that, if necessary). But there’s little we can do about his injury record, even if Lampard claims that the 24-year-old is “fit as a fiddle”.
Chelsea will now have to assess whether it would be more valuable for Ruben to still look for minutes elsewhere, as Lampard had said the other day — West Ham linked recently as well, for example — or if he can stay and play backup to our other midfield options in the absence of Barkley.