Chelsea hopeful Ruben Loftus-Cheek will stay after first Premier League start in 21 months
Chelsea are hopeful that they can persuade Ruben Loftus-Cheek that his future lies at the club this season and beyond after his first league start and goal in the surprise defeat to Wolverhampton Wanderers on Wednesday night.
The 22-year-old has been weighing his options over a loan move in January and with his contract expiring in 2020 there is a feeling that he will soon have to make a big call on whether to stay at the club he joined as an eight-year-old. The start against Wolves was his first in the league for Chelsea since April 2016 and a small but significant show of faith in the player.
Sarri is likely to bring Jorginho back into the team ahead of Cesc Fabregas, who started against Wolves, for the game against Manchester City on Saturday. Loftus-Cheek is in competition with Mateo Kovacic and Ross Barkley for a place in the midfield against the defending champions, with the latter having picked up a minor injury that has kept him out the last two games.
Marcos Alonso admitted after the game that Chelsea, ten points behind leaders City, would have to forget the points difference between the two sides. Chelsea have lost two of their last three games and victory for City at Stamford Bridge would make the pursuit very difficult indeed.
“If we lose we are going to be 13 points from the top and that’s a lot of points,” he said, “but we have to think, prepare for the game well and not pay attention to the table at the moment.
“We’re not doing very well at the moment, more individually than as a team. We have to get better as a collective. We had the chances to win [against Wolves], we were controlling the game and started the second half having a couple of chances.
“Then the last few games we were not loyal to our style of play and we lost even if we maybe didn’t deserve to. We are going through a hard period and you have to work very hard, stay together and get back to winning as soon as possible.”