Southampton are being linked with a move for Chelsea midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek ahead of the summer transfer window and should he join Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side for next season, he could form a superb partnership with James Ward-Prowse in midfield.
According to the Express, Southampton were keen on signing the England international on loan last summer before he joined Fulham and Hasenhuttl’s side are willing to offer him another chance in the top-flight next season, despite his disappointing spell with the Cottagers.
In 28 Premier League appearances for Scott Parker’s side, the 25-year-old has managed just one goal and no assists, earning a less than impressive 6.52 average rating for his performances from WhoScored.
Loftus-Cheek is a product of Chelsea’s academy and was once regarded as the next big thing at Stamford Bridge but he has unfortunately been unable to live up to his immense potential, with injury problems undoubtedly playing their part.
However, his performances in the past earned him a spot at the World Cup with England so he clearly has a lot of ability and he perhaps wasn’t able to showcase that as often as he would have liked playing in a relegation side this season.
He has shown glimpses of his ability, earning rave reviews from Parker earlier in the season after his performance in a draw against Liverpool, for which he was labelled “exceptional” by the young manager.
The six-foot-three midfielder would certainly add a physical presence in Hasenhuttl’s midfield and could definitely work well alongside Saints captain Ward-Prowse, who would perhaps have more freedom to dictate play alongside a box-to-box player such as Loftus-Cheek.
Only Stuart Armstrong and Kyle Walker-Peters have averaged more dribbles per game than Loftus-Cheek in the Premier League this season, which emphasises his ability to carry the ball through the middle. That’s something the Saints arguably lack when Armstrong plays out wide, as Ward-Prowse often plays alongside the more conservative Ibrahima Diallo or Oriol Romeu.
Therefore, if Southampton could bring the Chelsea man in on loan this summer, he could definitely prove to be an excellent addition in midfield alongside Ward-Prowse. It would certainly be well worth the risk from Saints vice-chairman Martin Semmens.
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