Crystal Palace could still move for Chelsea midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek before the transfer window shuts, and Patrick Vieira may well see a lot of himself in the England international should he move to Selhurst Park.
Palace have been linked with signing the Chelsea man in recent weeks, with a potential return on the cards after he spent the 2017/18 season on loan with the Eagles.
In a recent interview with GIVEMESPORT, journalist Tom Barclay shared his thoughts on Palace’s reported interest in Loftus-Cheek, suggesting a move could well be explored before the deadline.
He said: “Loftus-Cheek, I don’t know specifically on him, but I know that Palace are sort of waiting to see what happens in the loan market.
“I think there’s a feeling that there could be some good options come up towards the end of the window. Chelsea is very interesting. If they do sign Frenkie de Jong in midfield, what knock-on effect is that going to have in terms of game time for certain players?
“So, I wouldn’t be surprised if they sort of waited to the end of the window to bring in a loan, but we’ll wait and see on that.”
In his playing days, Vieira was regarded as a powerful midfielder who used his physicality to dominate games and was recently inducted into the Premier League hall of fame for his performances at Arsenal.
Indeed, the Arsenal website once said of their legendary midfielder: “The rigours of England’s top flight were never going to be an issue for the 6ft 4ins Vieira and his physical stature was as imposing as his powerhouse performances in the heart of Gunners midfield.”
He captained the Arsenal side to invincible glory in 2003/04 and while Loftus-Cheek is unlikely to have the same impact at Palace, the two do have similar attributes in terms of physicality in midfield.
Loftus-Cheek has never really lived up to his enormous potential at Chelsea but has gone on to make 124 appearances for the Stamford Bridge outfit, contributing 13 goals and 16 assists in that time.
Chelsea captain Cesar Azpilicueta was full of praise for the 26-year-old midfielder last season after he impressed in a wing-back role, saying:
“We have seen the improvement and he can play in several positions as well. He has always delivered (this season) and been open, trying his best for the team. He is very important.
“I have known Ruben since he was 17. I am very happy for him because he is so strong physically, he scored a nice goal. He deserves all the performances he is doing.”
Loftus-Cheek stands at an impressive 6 foot 3 and as Azpilicueta suggests, he has enormous strength, a trait Vieira was certainly known for.
The Frenchman could also bring the ball forward gracefully, another area the Chelsea midfielder excels in. That’s evidenced by him scoring in the 99th percentile for progressive carries and dribbles completed when compared with other midfielders in Europe’s top-five leagues over the last year.
Therefore, the £60k-per-week earner could prove to be Palace’s own version of Vieira should he return to Selhurst Park this summer.