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Leeds United have been tipped to revisit their interest in Chelsea outcast Ruben Loftus-Cheek in the summer after showing interest earlier this season. Former Whites boss Jesse Marsch was reportedly keen to snap up the former England international, but his subsequent sacking has left the matter uncertain.
Had Marsch kept his job, Leeds would have been a shoo-in to swoop for Loftus-Cheek in the summer, particularly if his situation at Chelsea remains the same. The 27-year-old has spent his whole professional career contracted to the Blues without ever consistently nailing down a spot in the starting XI.
Loftus-Cheek has never managed more than 24 Premier League appearances in a single season, with the exception of a loan stint at Fulham in 2020/21. His talent is plain for all to see, however, and it was enough to earn him 10 England caps earlier in his career.
According to Chelsea journalist Simon Phillips, Marsch was ‘intent’ on signing the midfielder at the end of the season, but was ultimately prevented from doing so by being given his marching orders earlier this month.
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Whether Leeds will go back in for Loftus-Cheek therefore depends on who is appointed to replace the axed American. Rafael Benitez and Javi Gracia are now the most heavily linked after a host of top managerial targets fell by the wayside.
Loftus-Cheek is certainly a player that will likely be of interest to numerous Premier League sides if his struggles for game time continue at Stamford Bridge. The 6ft 3in star, who should now be in his prime, has only started 13 of Chelsea’s 23 Premier League matches this season.
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He also faces a battle to work his way into manager Graham Potter’s long-term plans, with emerging talent such as Conor Gallagher and Carney Chukwuemeka also vying for more responsibility. Loftus-Cheek will have just one year remaining on his contract in the summer, which could allow Leeds to tie up a bargain deal.
The club’s interest isn’t unmatched, however, as the same report claims that Leicester and Newcastle are also likely to throw their hats into the ring if Loftus-Cheek is made available by the Blues. With the threat of relegation looming, Leeds can’t plan too far ahead in terms of transfer interest, and their current priority is appointing a new boss.
Odds were recently slashed on Benitez taking charge, and during an appearance on Sky Sports over the weekend, the Spaniard hinted that he would be keen on a Premier League job. “You need a project,” he admitted. “I was lucky enough to manage a lot of teams and because I did that and won some trophies, I can say now I don’t like this project, but I like this one.’
“I am fine and happy in England in terms of the Premier League, my family and everything. Sometimes you make decisions that are a risk but the reality is the Premier League is the best league in the world and I want to be around.”
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