Aston Villa boss Dean Smith is eyeing a move for Chelsea midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek this summer.
TEAMtalk recently claimed that Dean Smith’s side are among a number of clubs interested in signing the 25-year-old, with Fulham and Crystal Palace also said to be in the hunt – this follows reports from John Percy last September about Villa’s interest in taking him on loan for the 2020/21 campaign.
Now, The Daily Mail have confirmed that if Loftus-Cheek isn’t fancied by Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel, he will look for a permanent move away, with Villa, Southampton and Everton name-checked as having an interest in the English ace.
Speaking exclusively to FFC about Loftus-Cheek potentially joining Smith’s side in the upcoming transfer window, former Villa man Lee Hendrie said: “Why not have him as an addition? He’s a great creative threat, he’s strong, powerful and quick and we know he’s got great ability on the ball, so I’d certainly have him in the mix.”
And, after an impressive display against Everton earlier this year, Fulham boss Scott Parker was full of praise for the 6 foot 3 ace, saying: “I thought he was brilliant. Ruben came in and we’ve worked really hard together, in terms of the information I’m trying to give him and how he can have a big impact on the pitch.
“He came on and made a real difference. He looked every bit of a top, top player. He got the ball, was brave, scored a goal, got in the box, and was dynamic in between the lines.
“He’s got a real ability and he’ll be big for us this year. He needs to keep working on it and keep listening to what we’re saying. No doubt he’ll keep improving like we’ve seen today.”
Meanwhile, Cesar Azpilicueta, his teammate at his parent club Chelsea, is also a big fan, claiming that the Englishman has “unbelievable strength”, adding: “He can push past defenders, get in the box, score goals, and he defends. He is a complete player.”
The £18m-rated midfielder’s sheer physical presence means he offers something completely different to what Smith currently has at his disposal, and he could be the kind of shrewd signing that Villa look back on as a smart piece of business, especially if he can stay injury-free.