Newcastle United have today once again been linked with a move for Chelsea’s Endland Under-21 central midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek. The link was first made just a couple of months ago when the midfielder was one of Rafa Benitez’s key targets in the January 2017 transfer window.
It turned out that the move wasn’t to be, with the deal faltering at the Chelsea end after the Chelsea manager Antonio Conte decided to keep the young player in his own ranks.
At the time, I thought the move for Loftus-Cheek was a positive one – it was a no lose situation with the player coming in to the side for the final half of the Championship season on loan. We weren’t going to spend a fortune on a player who could have done a good job for us and after watching Colback in the central midfield position over the last month it saddens me even more that the loan move didn’t come off!
The thing is though, in January it was mooted as a loan move – the player gets some playing time, we get a good player – great – a win/win situation but having seen the news today that the player is once again linked to a loan move but this time I’m not so hot on the idea.
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There was an article written in the Chronicle today that referred to a conversation between David James and Stuart Pearce on BT Sports. They said that Loftus-Cheek is a Premier League class player and should really be loaned to a Premier League side rather than a Championship one. To on extent I agree but this is the murky side of loan deals that I do not like.
Personally, I don’t think you should be able to loan a player to/from a side in the same division. For me it is a huge conflict of interest and unless there is a future fee attached to the loan then in my opinion it should not be sanctioned. Yes, loaning players to lower division sides or abroad is a good thing; it gives the loaned players first team experience the the loaning club a player who is likely to be better than what they currently have in their squad.
Chelsea are masters at this – they have had around 30-40 players out on loan this season, Atsu at Newcastle United for one.
I’m all for a loan deal which includes a future fee – this deal allows the loaning club to check the player out before spending money, it guarantees the selling club a fee and it even gives the player a chance to check out their new surroundings before making the move.
Not all loan contracts have a future fee included though and it is something that Mike Ashley has insisted on ever since we lost out on Loic Remy a few seasons ago. It has worked the other way around for us too with the likes of Florian Thauvin and Remy Cabella going back out on loan to Marseille with future fees built in to the contract. Both players excelled and both players were signed back by the French club.
Now don’t get me wrong; Ruben Loftus-Cheek is a player who is highly thought of and I am sure Chelsea do not want to lose him permanently. He recently shone playing for England Under-21s and he has all the makings of a great player but I do feel uneasy loaning him from Chelsea should we gain promotion back to the Premier League.
A loan signing of Loftus-Cheek is not long term thinking – it is very much short term thinking, an impact player if you like which is why he would have been ideal for the latter part of this season as we chase promotion. I was actually very impressed with the England Under-21s this week and if I was Rafa I would be tempted to enquire about some of them; Loftus-Cheek being the primary target but I also like the look of Derby County’s Will Hughes.
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Next season, assuming we are back in the Premier League, we are not after a short term fix, we need a long term plan and who better to manage that than Rafa Benitez? The permanent signing of Loftus-Cheek would be exactly the sort of player to fit in with this plan – even a loan signing would be ok so long as it included a fee at the end of it to purchase him permanently. If it is just a loan deal all we are doing is helping Chelsea out by developing a player for them who otherwise can not get in their starting 11.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek is exactly the kind of player I want to see in a black and white shirt next season and I suspect with a promise of a starting 11 spot it is a move that might interest Loftus-Cheek too. He’s a great player but I suspect he is still way off from a starting spot at Chelsea.
It’ll take big money to prize him away from Chelsea but in my opinion it will be money well spent. Oh, and I’d also ask them about the young Dutch lad Nathan Ake who I think will be a fantastic player in the future.