Lazio are mulling a Chelsea raid to reunite Maurizio Sarri with Ruben Loftus-Cheek, and their resolve will strengthen if Man Utd complete a long-awaited move, per a report.
Loftus-Cheek enjoyed his best season at Stamford Bridge under Sarri. The 2018-19 season saw the midfielder make 24 league appearances and 40 in all competitions. Both those figures were matched this season under Thomas Tuchel, though Loftus-Cheek bagged 10 goals in 18/19 compared to just one last season.
Now, according to Italian outlet Gazzetta Dello Sport, Lazio are eyeing a reunion between Sarri and Loftus-Cheek.
The Italian manager is reportedly the driving force behind Lazio’s interest. Any move is stated to cost in the region of €20m (£17m).
Loftus-Cheek reportedly pockets around £58,000-a-week at Chelsea. Lazio are deemed willing to offer improved terms of approximately £65,000-per-week.
That would make him the second-highest earner at Lazio behind only Ciro Immobile and Sergej Milinkovic-Savic. The latter has been linked with a move to Manchester United for multiple years, though recent reports suggest it may finally come to fruition.
Italian publication Il Tempo claimed United are the leading contender to sign the Serbian midfielder and have apparently tabled a £46.7m bid. Whether that is true or not remains to be seen, but it falls far below Lazio’s reported £76.5m valuation anyway.
United are known to be on the hunt for midfield reinforcements, especially after Paul Pogba’s exit was confirmed.
The classy and combative 27-year-old would unquestionably be a smart pick-up and would provide his fair share of goals and assists too.
The original Gazzetta report states Lazio will move for Loftus-Cheek irrespective of whether Milinkovic-Savic is sold. But if he does depart, a Chelsea transfer will become ‘much more probable’.
Loftus-Cheek time up at Chelsea?
Tuchel has found a place for the 26-year-old, though he remains on the periphery of Chelsea’s first-team plans.
N’Golo Kante, Mateo Kovacic and Jorginho are all ahead of Loftus-Cheek at present. What’s more, Conor Gallagher may be given a chance to impress after a sparkling loan spell at Crystal Palace.
Sky Sports also reported Chelsea want to sign a new midfielder. Monaco’s Aurelien Tchouameni and PSV Eindhoven’s Ibrahim Sangare were both mentioned as targets being considered.
As such, Loftus-Cheek may quickly be resigned to a bench role at best once again. With his contract expiring in 2024, the time is now if Chelsea are to maximise their profits on a sale.
From the player’s end, Loftus-Cheek was at his best when working under Sarri. And as the likes of Romelu Lukaku, Tammy Abraham and Fikayo Tomori have shown, a move to Serie A can be very lucrative and successful indeed.