Leeds backed to sign England international from Chelsea after Marsch admiration emerges; new boss to have final say

Raheem Sterling, Conor Gallagher and Ruben Loftus-Cheek of Chelsea

Leeds United have been tipped to pursue Chelsea midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek in the summer transfer window, although the move will ultimately depend on the wishes of their next manager.

Loftus-Cheek has made 22 appearances in all competitions so far this season, though he is yet to register a goal. He picked up a decent amount of starts before the January window, but Chelsea’s record-breaking capture of Enzo Fernandez will likely result in Loftus-Cheek playing less in the second half of the campaign.

The 27-year-old, who has won 10 caps for England during his career, has a Chelsea contract which runs until June 2024. Due to the lofty ambitions of club chairman Todd Boehly, Chelsea will most likely decide against offering Loftus-Cheek a new deal and offload him at the end of the current campaign.

Football Insider claim Loftus-Cheek is one of five players who could depart Stamford Bridge in the summer. The others are Mason Mount, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Hakim Ziyech and Conor Gallagher.

Chelsea journalist Simon Phillips has now provided an update on Loftus-Cheek’s situation. He reveals that Leeds could rival Newcastle for the Chelsea academy graduate, with former Whites boss Jesse Marsch having been a big fan of his.

Of course, Leeds’ potential move for Loftus-Cheek will largely depend on whether Marsch’s replacement rates him.

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“Ruben Loftus-Cheek is another who could depart this summer,” Phillips wrote on his website.

“The 27-year-old hasn’t recaptured his 2018/19 form in which he scored 10 goals and played 40 games in all competitions. Keep an eye on Newcastle, who rate a number of Chelsea players, including Conor Gallagher and Christian Pulisic.

‘Don’t discount Leeds’, says journalist

“Leicester always seem to be linked with Loftus-Cheek, too. But they have never actually made a significant move.

“Don’t discount Leeds either. A lot will depend on their new manager, but Loftus-Cheek was one Jesse Marsch was quite intent on for the summer prior to being sacked.”

It is interesting that Marsch was looking at Loftus-Cheek as a prime summer target. He could be a shrewd addition for the Whites as he is a Premier League-ready player available at what will presumably be a low price tag.

There has now been a big indication on which manager will be taking over at Leeds and therefore deciding on the potential move for Loftus-Cheek. According to The Athletic, Leeds are set to appoint former Watford boss Javi Gracia as Marsch’s replacement.

He is on the verge of joining the west Yorkshire outfit until the end of the season. His main job will be to steer the club away from relegation.

If the Spaniard manages this, then Leeds will likely begin negotiations over extending his contract. And this is when Gracia would get to decide whether to sign or snub Loftus-Cheek.

It will be interesting to see how Loftus-Cheek responds to potential contact from Leeds. He would ideally like to remain at Chelsea and start most games for them. But this is unlikely to happen with Boehly bringing in so many top-class players.

As such, Loftus-Cheek may decide that a move to another Premier League club makes sense. It will allow him to try and prove the Chelsea hierarchy wrong.