Ruben Loftus-Cheek may be attracting interest from several clubs but Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri says he will not be leaving
London (AFP) - Highly-regarded midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek is important to Chelsea and will not be leaving in the January transfer window despite the limited starting opportunites he has had this season said Blues manager Maurizio Sarri.
The 22-year-old – who shone for England when he was selected at the World Cup finals – came on and scored for Chelsea in the 2-0 win over Fulham on Sunday.
However, his first team starts this season have largely been in the Europa League and several clubs have been linked with moves for him, with Crystal Palace interested in taking him back on loan as he sparkled for them last term.
Others said to be keen are Bournemouth, who bought another fringe player at Chelsea last year in Dutch international Nathan Ake, West Ham, Newcastle and German outfit Schalke 04.
However, Sarri – whose side play out of form Wolverhampton Wanderers on Wednesday – put a dampener on their hopes on Tuesday.
“No,” he replied when asked at his eve of match press conference would Loftus-Cheek be moving.
“I want him to stay with me, to stay with us.
“I think there is no chance.”
Sarri – who has tasted defeat just once in his maiden season in charge – is also determined to keep veteran duo centre-back David Luiz and midfielder Cesc Fabregas.
Both of their contracts are up at the end of the campaign and there is a stand-off between the two 31-year-olds with the club over the length of new contracts being offered.
“The club want a short contract and the players want a long contract,” said Sarri.
“So it’s difficult for this reason. I think at the end we can find a solution.
Sarri, a former banker who made his name as a coach at Serie A side Napoli prompting Chelsea to hire him in place of his compatriot Antonio Conte, said he had brought up the issue of their contracts last month.
“It’s very difficult to find a centre-back for this level,” said the 59-year-old Italian.
“And it’s very difficult to find a central midfielder technically like Fabregas. So I think they have to stay for us.”