Maurizio Sarri sent Real Madrid transfer warning about Ruben Loftus-Cheek

CHELSEA should send Mateo Kovacic back to Real Madrid in order to give more playing time to Ruben Loftus-Cheek.

That’s according to former Arsenal defender Martin Keown.

Maurizio Sarri replaced Antonio Conte as boss during the summer and the Italian has enjoyed a stunning start to life at Stamford Bridge.

The Blues are unbeaten in the Premier League so far having strengthened well during the summer, including the acquisitions of midfielders Jorginho and Kovacic, who arrived on loan from Real.

The Croatian has started six times in the league so far and his inclusion has limited the playing time of Loftus-Cheek, who vowed to stay and fight for his place after impressing on loan at Crystal Palace last term.

The 22-year-old has seen his minutes mainly come in cup competitions and he netted a stunning hat-trick in last week’s Europa League win over BATE Borisov.

Despite his recent form, Loftus-Cheek has been linked with a January move away as he looks to force his way back into Gareth Southgate’s England plans.

And Keown has urged Sarri to terminate Kovacic’s temporary deal in order to gift more action to Loftus-Cheek, as well as Ross Barkley, who has also impressed lately.

“I honestly believe that had Maurizio Sarri known just how good Ross Barkley and Ruben Loftus-Cheek were, Chelsea would not have taken Mateo Kovacic on loan,” he told the Daily Mail.

“It’s a nice problem for Sarri to have.

“You cannot drop N’Golo Kante so there are three players fighting for one midfield berth.

“If Chelsea had to make a choice between Kovacic and Loftus-Cheek, I would rather send Kovacic back to Real Madrid than send Loftus-Creek out on loan.”

Barkley arrived in west London from Everton in January but struggled to hit the ground running.

But after biding his team, the 24-year-old is thriving in Sarri’s attacking system and Chelsea legend Jimmy Floyd-Hasselbaink hopes Loftus-Cheek will follow suit.

He told Sky Sports: “He’s different, he’s totally different to what they have got. He has got so much power.

“But Barkley has had his struggles as well and he needs to learn from Barkley’s struggles.

“Barkley has never given up and he has gone through difficult times.

“At Everton, coming here that he didn’t straight away get into the team.

“He had to fight really hard to be able to get this chance that he’s got now.

“And he’s taken it, that’s what Loftus-Cheek have got to do as well.”

Chelsea return to Premier League action on Sunday as they welcome Crystal Palace to Stamford Bridge.

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