Antonio Conte is reportedly keen to stop highly-rated youngster Ruben Loftus-Cheek leaving Chelsea in the January transfer window as he plans to use him more in the second half of the season.
The England Under-21 international has struggled to gain a regular first-team place this season, despite long being regarded as one of the club’s most promising academy talents.
Conte has, however, shown a willingness to use his squad players after the surprise rise of Victor Moses in particular, and Loftus-Cheek is seemingly next in his plans.
With the likes of Oscar and John Obi Mikel leaving Chelsea this month, the Blues are now more short of options in midfield and could do with the youngster’s presence in their squad.
According to the Daily Mail, Conte also apparently sees the 20-year-old as an option up front if he ever decides to play another striker alongside first-choice forward Diego Costa.
Chelsea have been linked with some surprise moves in the transfer market this winter, with Swansea flop Fernando Llorente and West Ham utility man Michail Antonio apparently top targets, but Stamford Bridge supporters would surely prefer to see a homegrown talent like Loftus-Cheek step up.
Oscar: This is why my £60m move to China was a good deal for Chelsea
FORMER Chelsea player Oscar says the Blues got a good deal from his £60million transfer to China – and he wants to help the Chinese Super League become as big as the Premier League.
Oscar completed a surprise switch to Chinese side Shanghai SIPG when the transfer window opened on New Year’s Day.
The Brazil international had dropped out of favour at Chelsea under manager Antonio Conte, who was quick to cash in on the sale.
“The transfer is good for me, good for Chelsea and good for Shanghai,” Socar told Sky Sports.
“I am so happy to come to the Chinese league.”
Chelsea have also sold John Obi Mikel to China this month, while last season Ramires left the Stamford Bridge club for the Far East.
Oscar now earns a reported £400,000 a week at Shanghai, while the Chinese transfer record was smashed four times last season.
But Oscar thinks the money is being well spent.
“I think the Chinese clubs put up a lot of money for the players who go to China, to make the Chinese league stronger,” he said.
“They offered that to me and I’m very happy to come.”
A number of players have been criticised for ditching European football for the Chinese Super League, which is widely regarded as being at a lower standard than many of the top-flight divisions in Europe.
But Oscar believes the league will improve and revealed he has received a warm welcome from his new teammates.
“Of course the Premier League has the most top level players in the world,” he said.
“But the Chinese guys are very good. They help the new players a lot and I hope they continue this as I come to help.
“If they continue in this way then maybe (the league will rival Europe’s top divisions), because they have a lot of good projects.”
Chelsea recalled Nathan Ake to stand in for struggling Marcos Alonso
Chelsea decided to recall Nathan Ake from his loan at Bournemouth due to growing concerns over the fitness of Marcos Alonso.
Standard Sport understands that Alonso has been troubled by a minor leg injury since he joined in August.
The left wing-back was signed from Fiorentina for £23million and is believed to have begun his Chelsea career with muscular discomfort in his upper leg.
It took him three weeks to make his debut and while the problem was not serious to begin with, it has been getting worse over the past month.
It has not been severe enough to stop Alonso from playing — the 26-year-old has started the last 14 Premier League games, which coincided with Chelsea’s club record run of 13 straight wins. But with the rigours of the season and his injury starting to take more of a toll, Chelsea wanted to bring Ake back as cover and open up the possibility of rotating more, so giving Alonso the possibility to rest his injury.
Ake impressed on a season-long loan at Watford last term playing as a leftback and showed his growing confidence at the highest level at Bournemouth, albeit as a centre-half.
He was supposed to spend the campaign there but Chelsea decided to trigger the clause in the deal that would allow them to bring him back this month.
Coach Antonio Conte said that Ake’s fine performances and ability to play in a number of positions was the reason the Holland Under-21 international is at Stamford Bridge again.
He said: “Chelsea is his home and I’m pleased to have him back. Ake gives me important options, because we are playing with three central defenders. He can play on the left and in the middle. Also it’s important to see during training if he can play as a wingback. I wanted to bring back Ake because he gives me a good opportunity, good solutions.”
But it is believed Conte will particularly want to field Ake as a left wingback in training and have a close look at how he performs in the role.
Meanwhile, Victor Moses is convinced Chelsea have the mental toughness to cope with leading from the front in the title race.
Conte’s side lost their first game for four months last week as Spurs secured a 2-0 win at White Hart Lane.