If Chelsea were to go out and buy a player matching Ruben Loftus-Cheek’s profile this summer they’d be paying upwards of £50million.
That’s a conservative estimate given the Wild West that is the transfer market in the wake of Neymar’s move to PSG.
Loftus-Cheek is 22. At youth level he’s represented England from Under-16 level all the way through to the Under-21s.
He’s won two FA Youth Cups and one UEFA Youth League with Chelsea and was part of the England squad that lifted the 2016 Touloun Tournament, where he was named the best player.
At senior level he made his debut in the Champions League aged 18 and was part of Chelsea’s Premier League winning campaign in 2016.
He played well enough on loan at Crystal Palace last season to be included in England’s World Cup squad, making four appearances in Russia.
Away from the facts, let’s talk about his attributes.
Imagine taking a bull in a china shop and teaching it ballet. That’s the way Loftus-Cheek carries the ball. A mixture of pure power and technical grace.
He sees the game differently to your average player thanks to a high football IQ and isn’t afraid to try the unorthodox.
Luckily Chelsea don’t have to buy Loftus-Cheek.
The midfielder has been at Chelsea since the age of eight and been a member of the first-team squad since 2014.
Loftus-Cheek is a Chelsea player. But for how long?
The 22-year-old is willing to pursue a loan move away from the club if he’s ignored by Maurizio Sarri at the start of the season, according to The Times.
If Loftus-Cheek was to leave Stamford Bridge it would be another sideways step for one of the great hopes of the current England generation.
Serri’s midfield unit in his last season at Napoli consisted of Jorginho, Marek Hamsik and Allan.
He’s brought Jorginho with him to Chelsea, while N’Golo Kante can play the Allan role leaving one space free.
Loftus-Cheek’s profile is more compatible with the role Hamsik played than Cesc Fabregas or Danny Drinkwater, leaving Ross Barkley and Tiemoue Bakayoko for company.
Chelsea’s willingness to loan Loftus-Cheek out would be an admittance of stockpiling talent for the sake of it.
In order for Loftus-Cheek to hit the heights he’s capable of he needs to be playing regularly in the biggest games, not just Huddersfield and Fulham when Sarri decides to rest players.
The lack of a path to regular first-team football has already seen Jonathan Panzo leave Chelsea for Monaco.
It would be a crying shame if Loftus-Cheek was to follow him out of the door.