With just a week remaining of the summer transfer window, the short-term futures of a number of players have been the subject of speculation and Frank Lampard has admitted that outgoings are a possibility…
Lampard has reiterated that any deal must be right for both player and club, though he hinted that might be the case for Ruben Loftus-Cheek, with the midfielder keen to get a regular run of games under his belt following a long-term injury layoff.
The 24-year-old has played just 288 minutes of football in over 16 months following the Achilles injury sustained in May 2019 and subsequent lengthy rehabilitation. Speaking ahead of our Carabao Cup trip to Tottenham, Lampard admitted he had discussed the idea of a loan move with Loftus-Cheek and options were being explored.
‘I’m very open with Ruben and we’ve had a couple of conversations in the last week,’ said the boss. ‘He’s fit as a fiddle so he can play week-in, week-out and he needs to play coming off the back of a lot of work now. He would have been playing games earlier if it wasn’t for lockdown.
‘There’s a possibility that he may go out to play games because I think that will be great for him. We hold him in very high regard here, I certainly do and that could be a good option for him. If that’s not the right option he’ll be competitive in this squad as well because of the qualities he has.
‘I’m relaxed about it but I want to find the best path for Ruben and the best path for us so at the minute we’ll see with the week we’ve got ahead of us.’
Loftus-Cheek’s desire to play has been complicated further by the arrival of Kai Havertz and Hakim Ziyech in attacking areas of the team, which Lampard acknowledges will only add to the Londoner’s competition for a starting spot.
‘He wants to play and the reality is I have a lot of competition in those areas when I look at the squad,’ added Lampard. ‘Ruben is versatile - he can play different roles in midfield and sometimes off the side.
‘He’s had a difficult time and the injury was a bad one. He hasn’t played as many minutes for this club as he would liked to have done for different reasons but just before his injury he was playing really well and contributing.
'I was really looking forward to getting him back fit and working with him because I know what he can do. He gives us something different in terms of his physicality, how he plays and how he receives the ball but there is also a priority for everybody that Ruben plays games.
'That’s the delicate balance of what we’re trying to get right over the next week and we’ll do what feels right.'