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Why Loftus-Cheek’s future should lie at Selhurst Park

October 23 2018

Ruben Loftus-Cheek

Ruben Loftus-Cheek

After such a positive display for England at the World Cup, it was understandable that Ruben Loftus-Cheek would want to return to Chelsea to fight for his place, writes Anthony Ghosh.

Even the most hardened of Eagles fans would accept that if there was a chance for a player to establish himself with a multiple Premier League winning outfit then he should take it.

The quest, however, seems to be out of reach as Chelsea’s notorious reluctance to promote their own youth players has seen the midfielder make just two Premier League appearances, as a substitute, since the start of the campaign.

What next?

Loftus-Cheek’s inactivity has led to predictable reports of a January move, with some stories alleging that the player has 'demanded’ a switch. Naturally, Crystal Palace have been linked as a possible destination after his performances while on loan at Selhurst Park last season persuaded former Eagle Gareth Southgate to put the midfielder on the plane to Russia.

The other main contenders appear to be Everton and there is a story outlining why Ruben Loftus-Cheek should choose Goodison Park over South London. It’s all opinion-driven, of course, but there are at least as many arguments for the player to make the opposite decision.

Finding a home

Everton sit in eighth position seven places and eight points ahead of Palace in the table. It’s perceived that the teams have very different ambitions and that’s underlined in the betting markets where the Toffees are priced at 8/1 by Paddy Power for a top-six finish at the end of 2018/19.

In contrast, Palace, after a period of some stability under Roy Hodgson, are listed at 35/1 in the same market and remain eighth-favourites, just ahead of Brighton, to go down.

Based on those numbers, Ruben Loftus-Cheek may be facing a straight choice of a shot at the European places with Everton or a potential relegation battle at Selhurst Park but fortunately, things aren’t quite as simple as that.

Stability

Everton are now on their third manager since the start of the 2017/18 season and have employed a ‘revolving door’ policy in terms of playing staff at Goodison Park.

A scattergun approach to new signings saw Davy Klaassen moved on after just seven league games for the club while this summer, the much-heralded Bernard has appeared just three times in eight EPL matches to date.

There may well be a vacancy at Goodison Park but the club is unsettled in terms of its playing personnel and Loftus-Cheek seems far from guaranteed a place in the starting XI which is what he needs at this stage of his career.

In contrast, at Crystal Palace, he could be expected to slot seamlessly back into his former role in midfield at a familiar club in front of receptive supporters.

There is a long way to go before any deal gets over the line and surely more clubs will be linked but, if it comes to a straight fight between Everton and Palace for Ruben Loftus-Cheek’s permanent signature, it should be destination Selhurst Park all the way.

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