Crystal Palace are set to sign Chelsea starlet Ruben Loftus-Cheek – subject to a medical on Tuesday – with the Lewisham-born midfielder expected to become manager Frank de Boer’s first signing since taking over at the Eagles.
The 21-year-old, who stands at 6ft 3in, has played only a peripheral role for the Blues in the last three seasons, and despite never having been loaned to any clubs, his boss at Stamford Bridge, Antonio Conte, has sanctioned a season-long loan deal, perhaps in the knowledge that Monaco star Tiemoue Bakayoko’s move is imminent.
Loftus-Cheek made just 11 appearances for the Blues last season, with all six of his league appearances coming as a substitute.
The combative midfielder had been pursued by a host of other Premier League clubs, including newly promoted Brighton & Hove Albion, Newcastle and West Ham, but the appeal working under the Dutch icon appears to have swayed his decision.
Once the formalities are finalised, Loftus-Cheek will likely be expected to line up with Yohan Cabaye and Luka Milivojevic in the heart of the Eagles midfield, offering lung-busting runs to support defence and attack, as is his box-to-box appeal.
The move could also spell the end of midfielder James McArthur’s spell at Selhurst Park, with the Scottish international interesting both Burnley and Aston Villa of late.
Palace kick off their Premier League campaign on the 12 August at home to newcomers Huddersfield Town, and fans will be hopeful of seeing a new brand of football under De Boer’s tutelage – with Loftus-Cheek expected to be a key piece of the puzzle.