Chelsea surprise package who ‘will end up on the market’ wanted by manager who inspired his best season

Chelsea players Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Romelu Lukaku smiling

Ruben Loftus-Cheek has been identified by his former Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri as an ideal replacement for Sergej Milinkovic-Savic at Lazio, a report claims.

Loftus-Cheek returned to Chelsea this summer after a loan spell with Fulham. It previously did not seem like he would have a future under Thomas Tuchel, but he has worked hard to suggest otherwise.

This season, the midfielder has made 31 appearances across all competitions. It has therefore been the second busiest season of his Chelsea career.

The tally he is trying to surpass is the 40 he managed in 2018-19. At the time, Chelsea were managed by Sarri, who led them to Europa League success.

It turned out to be Sarri’s only season at Stamford Bridge before returning to Italy. He spent a season with Juventus before taking the Lazio job at the start of this season.

Sarri should last longer in the Italian capital than he did in the English one. But over the summer, he may have to deal with some changes to his current squad.

Lazio are expecting to cash in on long-term Manchester United target Milinkovic-Savic at the end of the season, for example. He has long been one of their standout players.

Therefore, his successor will have tough boots to fill. But according to Corriere Dello Sport, Sarri believes his former pupil Loftus-Cheek can take that mantle.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Eduardo Camavinga, Real Madrid v Chelsea, Champions League quarter-final second leg at Santiago Bernabeu

The report claims that Loftus-Cheek will still be available for transfer in the summer despite his return to Chelsea prominence. That depends, of course, on a takeover of the club going through in time.

Corriere Dello Sport remind that Everton wanted Loftus-Cheek in January. By the summer, though, his best options away from Chelsea could be abroad.

Loftus-Cheek to succeed Milinkovic-Savic

His qualities appeal to Lazio, in the knowledge that Sarri inspired his best season so far. What’s more, his salary is similar to Milinkovic-Savic’s.

A year younger than the man he may replace, too, Loftus-Cheek could be exactly what Lazio are looking for.

Any asking price from Chelsea’s perspective is not disclosed. They have their academy graduate under contract until 2024, by which time he will be in the prime of his career at 28 years old.

Whether he is spending those years in England or Italy remains to be seen.

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