Chelsea Opinion: Loftus-Cheek’s new deal represents a change in handling academy products at Chelsea
According to The Sun, Chelsea are on the verge of securing the long-term future of their academy product Ruben Loftus-Cheek, with reports claiming that the 23-year-old has agreed to put pen to paper on a new five-year deal at Stamford Bridge.
The Blues have a lucrative contract worth £39 million in the pipeline for the midfielder, who is currently on the treatment table to nurse a long-term injury. Loftus-Cheek ruptured his Achilles Tendon in a Holocaust Memorial game back in May.
While he isn’t expected to return to action this year, the 23-year-old is likely to play a key role under Frank Lampard in the second half of the upcoming campaign.
Loftus-Cheek had another two years remaining on his current deal at Stamford Bridge but the club hierarchy was keen to extend his stay in West London, following his impressive run of form in the first-team under Maurizio Sarri this past season, the SunSport reported earlier in the year.
The 23-year-old also confirmed prior to the long-term injury that he had been hoping for a hike in his wages, and it seems now that the club is willing to fulfil his demands.
The midfielder only started 6 games in the Premier League last season but he finished the campaign with 40 appearances across all competitions, contributing with an impressive 10 goals and 5 assists in the process.
Loftus-Cheek featured more prominently in Chelsea’s triumphant Europa League campaign, with his hat-trick against BATE Borisov in the group stages earning him rave reviews from fans and pundits alike.
Loftus-Cheek was largely looked upon as a fringe player by most of the previous managers at the club but Sarri gave him a fair crack of the whip last season and the youngster repaid the Italian’s faith in him with some stellar performances.
As a matter of fact, the 23-year-old bagged the highest number of goal contributions (10 goals, 5 assists) among the midfielders last season, with the likes of Jorginho, Mateo Kovacic and Ross Barkley all behind him in that regard.
Interestingly, the announcement of Loftus-Cheek’s new deal is expected to coincide with the appointment of club-legend Frank Lampard as the new manager, with The Sun suggesting that the three-time Premier League winner is set to seal his emotional return to the Stamford Bridge over the next couple of days.
To put things into perspective, Chelsea securing Loftus-Cheek’s long-term future with a new deal represents a change in stance towards the handling of academy products at the club.
Stamford Bridge has proven itself to be an absolute graveyard for promising young talents under the ownership of Roman Abramovich but Loftus-Cheek’s success can be deemed as a promise of better things to come.
Chelsea have already completed the signing of Mateo Kovacic from Real Madrid on a permanent basis this summer on the back of a successful loan spell last season.
However, despite featuring regularly under Sarri in the previous campaign, the Croatian failed to find the net even once, which is certainly a red flag for any central midfielder.
Loftus-Cheek, on the other hand, excelled in multiple roles and proved himself as the X-Factor in the Blues midfield with his ability to unlock defences and contribute with crucial goals and assists.
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To sum it up, the 23-year-old continues to be a highly-rated prospect. Given that he took significant steps towards fulfilling his potential last season, Chelsea’s decision to offer him a new five-year deal can definitely be seen as a step in the right direction.