On the back of an impressive World Cup campaign, this was supposed to be the season that Ruben Loftus-Cheek broke into Chelsea’s first team for good.
But Maurizio Sarri bolstered his midfield options with Mateo Kovacic and Jorginho as well as putting Ross Barkley ahead of Loftus-Cheek in the Chelsea pecking order; which has been reflected in Gareth Southgate’s plans as well.
Loftus-Cheek has had very few opportunities to show what he can do, but he did get one in the Europa League last night and it is fair to say he grabbed it with both hands.
Loftus-Cheek netted all three goals as the Blues saw off BATE Borisov in the Europa League group stages last night.
It was a rare display of ruthlessness for a player who clearly has a lot of skills but has struggled to tie down a regular spot or role in the team for either club or country.
But it was a timely reminder of what the midfielder could offer if he was able to procure a January move.
Given his lack of gametime for Chelsea, it is hard to see Sarri objecting to sending RLC out on a temporary basis and if he does, West Ham should be at the front of the queue.
What would he offer?
Loftus-Cheek is a powerhouse who has all the attributes the modern midfielder needs. He can cover ground, dictate play from deep and burst forward to score.
He would offer a more creative threat than Pedro Obiang and him alongside Jack Wilshere in Pellegrini’s 4-3-3 would offer a great playmaking duo.