‘There is a possibility that he may go out to play games – that could be a good option for him’: Frank Lampard admits Ruben Loftus-Cheek may leave Chelsea on loan before window closes
- Ruben Loftus-Cheek could leave Chelsea on loan, according to Frank Lampard
- The Blues boss has left the midfielder out of his last three matchday squads
- Lampard says he needs game time, with Aston Villa and West Ham interested
- But Chelsea boss insists Loftus-Cheek has long-term future at Stamford Bridge
Midfielder Loftus-Cheek has missed out on the last three Chelsea squads after starting their season opener at Brighton after which heavy criticism of his performance led to a strong defence of the 24 year-old from Lampard.
Loftus-Cheek has been unable to secure the regular football he needs since returning from over a year out with an achilles injury.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek could be sent out on loan according to Chelsea manager Frank Lampard
Lampard insisted it would be wrong to assume that any of the players who have been squeezed out of his plans in the early weeks of this season will definitely be moved on.
Though the need to get Loftus-Cheek some consistent game time makes him a player whose immediate future will be assessed slightly differently by Lampard.
He said: ‘It does. I’m very open with Ruben. We’ve had a couple of conversations in the last week and he is fit as a fiddle so he can play week in week out. He needs to play.
Lampard says Loftus-Cheek is ‘fit as a fiddle’ and ‘needs to play’ following Achilles injury
‘He’s done a lot of work now and he would have been playing games and fitter earlier if it wasn’t for the lockdown and restart etc.
‘There is a possibility that he may go out to play games. We hold him in very high regard – I certainly do – and that could be a good option for him.
‘If that’s not the right option he will be competitive in this squad as well because of the qualities he has and hopefully be a big plus for us.
‘I wouldn’t say I am relaxed about it but I want to find the best path for Ruben and I want to find the best path for us so at the minute will see with the week we have got ahead of us.’
The English midfielder last featured for the Blues in the 3-1 victory over Brighton
Aston Villa, West Ham and Southampton are among the clubs keen on Loftus-Cheek though any move will be with a view to him returning to Chelsea and not because he no longer has a future at the club.
Lampard said: ‘Without a doubt. He has had a difficult time Ruben with the injury, it was a bad one. ‘He hasn’t played as many minutes for this club as he would have liked to have done for different reasons but just before his injury he was playing really well and contributing and I was always looking forward to getting him back fit and working with him so we will make that decision on what’s best for him and best for us.
‘He wants to play and the reality is I have a lot of competition in those areas when I look at the squad so Ruben is versatile he can play different roles in midfield and sometimes off the side so I was really looking forward to working with him and he gives us something different in terms of his physicality and how he plays, how he receives the ball but I think there is also a priority from everybody that Ruben plays games so that is the delicate balance of what we are trying to get right over the next week and we will do what feels right.’
Defender Antonio Rudiger could also leave Stamford Bridge before the October deadline
Defender Antonio Rudiger could also leave after also being omitted from Lampard’s squad while Jorginho, Ross Barkley and Fikayo Tomori are among the players with admirers.
Meanwhile, left-back Marcos Alonso’s future is in doubt after he angered Lampard with his response to being substituted at half time at West Brom, with Chelsea 3-0 down.
Alonso, who Lampard blamed for two of the goals, initially tried to watch the second half on the team bus rather than from the stands with the other substitutes.