José Mourinho has confirmed that 19 year old starlet; Ruben Loftus-Cheek will not be loaned out next season [ESPN]. He has been quoted stated that…
“Ruben is not going on loan. He is staying.”
This is great news for Chelsea fans, because we rarely see a youth player promoted into the first team. He plays as a holding midfielder, and could be the quality backup to Nemanja Matic that Chelsea fans have been longing for. John Obi Mikel has not impressed this year, and simply lacks the offensive talent to make it at Chelsea. Ramires isn’t a natural holding midfielder, and if he would play either on the wing or a more central role he would see great improvements in his game. It is surprising to see Mourinho unwilling to loan out a youngster, after at one point last year, he had 26 players loaned out to different clubs around the world. Chelsea is notorious for ruining a teenager’s career, but Loftus-Cheek could help do away with this stereotype if he could find his way into the first team.
Chelsea has also been linked to purchasing an extra holding midfielder, either Napoli’s Giannelli Imbula, or Southampton’s Morgan Schneiderlin. Imbula is a more physical, less technical footballer compared to Schneiderlin, and just the physical presence of Imbula playing alongside Matic is very scary for opposing teams. Schneiderlin has also been linked to moves to Liverpool, Arsenal, and Manchester United, and could be expensive if Mourinho was to place a bid on the Frenchman. Imbula is also three years young than Schneiderlin, and has the potential to become the “next Matic”. It will be interesting to see if Mourinho will purchase another holding midfielder if he expects Ruben Loftus-Cheek to be ready for the first team next season.
The promotion of Loftus-Cheek will help the team most directly by saving the money that would’ve been spent on another midfielder. The £20million or so that is saved can now be put towards bringing in an extra center back, full-back, striker, and maybe a goalkeeper. Loftus-Cheek will probably not start a lot of matches next season, but he could be a vital player off of the bench.