Chelsea to let Loftus-Cheek go on loan

At least eight clubs in England and Europe are interested in taking Ruben Loftus-Cheek on a season-long loan from Chelsea.

Loftus-Cheek has been left out of Frank Lampard’s last two match-day squads, which has prompted a host of clubs to check on his availability.

Aston Villa are interested in taking either Ross Barkley or Loftus-Cheek, while West Ham are also thought to be tracking the pair.

With competition for midfield places fierce and Loftus-Cheek and Barkley both wanting enough game time to push for a place in England’s European Championship squad, Lampard may have a tough decision to make between the two midfielders.

Loftus-Cheek is in need of regular football to help his comeback from the Achilles injury that ruled him out for a year.

The 24-year-old’s rehabilitation was interrupted by the coronavirus shutdown, before he returned to action after last season’s restart in June making nine appearances, only two of which were starts.

Loftus-Cheek started Chelsea’s opening Premier League victory over Brighton, but was substituted in the second half. The player was then left out of the squads for the League game against Liverpool and the Carabao Cup victory over Barnsley.

Chelsea have, meanwhile, formally completed the signing of goalkeeper Edouard Mendy from Rennes for around £22 million, with the Senegal international signing a five-year contract. Mendy, 28, said: “It’s a dream for me to be part of this exciting squad and to work with Frank Lampard and his coaching staff. I can’t wait to get started.”

Meanwhile UEFA will continue to allow teams to make up to five substitutions each per match, instead of three, for the rest of this season, the head of the European soccer governing body Aleksander Ceferin said. The rule will apply to the Champions League and Europa League.

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