EXCLUSIVE: Aston Villa, Crystal Palace set sights on transfer of attacking midfielder

Ruben Loftus-Cheek TEAMtalk

TEAMtalk can reveal Aston Villa and Crystal Palace are leading the chase for Ruben Loftus-Cheek with the England midfielder set to depart Chelsea this summer.

The 25-year-old is currently on loan at Fulham and they would like to keep him but their chances will be dependent on them staying in the Premier League which looks unlikely at this stage. Loftus-Cheek has done well and he hopes to get another chance at Chelsea where he has three years left on his contract.

Loftus-Cheek has made 26 Premier League appearances for the Cottagers, primarily in an attacking midfield role, scoring once. He has been unable to lift them away from the relegation zone but his performances have been noted.

However, TEAMtalk understands that Loftus-Cheek is not in Chelsea’s long-term plans. And the Blues have already told interested parties that they would be open to a sale.

Palace are long-term admirers of Loftus-Cheek and they have told Chelsea they will be interested, likewise Aston Villa are keen.

Chelsea legend John Terry is number two at Villa and is a huge fan. And although they are sending Ross Barkley back this summer – they could yet complete a deal for a Chelsea midfielder.

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No Villa deal for Barkley

Earlier this week TEAMtalk revealed that Villa had told Chelsea they were not looking to sign Barkley on a permanent basis.

Barkley, 27, joined Villa in the summer, and at the time was determined to prove then Chelsea boss Frank Lampard was wrong to loan him out.

Barkley began his spell at Villa Park in brilliant style and emerged as one of the league’s form players. He linked up amazingly well with fellow England international Jack Grealish.

Lampard even admitted that he was watching him closely and would give him another chance at Stamford Bridge if the opportunity arose. Things though have gone awry since turn of the year and gone off track.

Lampard was booted out at Chelsea and Barkley’s form has disappeared. And sources have confirmed to TEAMtalk that Villa are less than pleased with some of the off-field antics of Barkley.

Instead Barkley could be heading to West Ham. Hammers David Moyes has added Barkley to his list of summer targets.

READ MORE: Pundit labels Aston Villa midfielder a ‘disappointment’ after promising start