Transfer Talk: Loftus-Cheek offered escape route to Milan
Ruben Loftus-Cheek could be part of a mass exodus at Chelsea this summer and is being heavily linked with a move to AC Milan.
The Blues' bloated squad needs to be trimmed down significantly to aid likely next boss Mauricio Pochettino in his rebuild.
Loftus-Cheek, 27, has endured a tough time at Stamford Bridge since rupturing his Achilles in May 2019.
As Chelsea prepare for their match against Manchester United on Thursday, we take a look at what the future may hold for the injury-prone utility man.
Loftus-Cheek has had to contend with the negatives of both a high manager turnover and regular deployment in unnatural positions — including as a full-back and winger.
But he still appears keen on remaining in West London beyond this season, despite starting only 34 Premier League matches for the Blues since February 2020.
After playing 81 minutes in the 1-0 defeat at Manchester City last Sunday, the No12 said: "I don't want to give all the excuses under the sun why we are where we are but it has been very difficult.
"It was up to us players to step up and ignore the noise. A lot changed, things we haven't felt before.
"Now, we have to look towards next season and getting that mentality ready and get us out of this hole. We don't want this season leaking into the next.
"We have to get in the right frame of mind to get us ready to start next season firing."
Made for Milan
Although Loftus-Cheek may be eager to stay, Stamford Bridge chiefs are likely to want to move the academy graduate off the wage bill.
And a switch to Milan could be a good fit, following in the footsteps of former team-mate Fikayo Tomori.
Stefano Pioli's side are in need of a refresh, having slumped to fifth in their Serie A title defence, 22 points behind the new Scudetto winners Napoli.
In the Champions League, the Rossoneri failed to land a punch in their 3-0 aggregate loss to fierce rivals Inter Milan in their semi-final.
Loftus-Cheek's technical abilities look tailor-made for the Italian top flight — only Enzo Fernandez has a better passing accuracy than the London-born maestro (88%) among Blues midfielders with 10 or more appearances this term.
While, impressively, almost exactly a third of the England international's completed passes (704) were made in the final third (234).
Premier League stay
Of course, there is scope for Loftus-Cheek to remain in England while also departing Chelsea.
West Ham have been touted as a potential destination for the Europa League winner, who has previously spent time on loan at Crystal Palace and Fulham.
In his first spell in the Blues dugout, current caretaker boss Frank Lampard labelled his player as "one of the most exciting English midfielders" and he could easily pique the interest of other teams in the division this summer.
But acquiring a footballer who is on a reported six-figure salary and is contracted until at least 2024 — not to mention his wretched injury record — would also represent a sizeable risk for any potential suitor.