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Chelsea

Southampton want Ruben Loftus-Cheek on loan transfer with midfielder failing to earn Chelsea chance in Fulham spell


RUBEN LOFTUS-CHEEK has emerged as a loan target for Southampton this summer.

Saints were keen on the England midfielder a year ago but lost out when Fulham borrowed him from Chelsea.

Fulham loanee Ruben Loftus-Cheek is fancied by Premier League rivals Southampton for another temporary spell away from Chelsea

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Fulham loanee Ruben Loftus-Cheek is fancied by Premier League rivals Southampton for another temporary spell away from ChelseaCredit: PA
Saints manager Ralph Hasenhuttl has remained a big admirer of Ruben Loftus-Cheek despite the midfielder's modest season with relegated Fulham

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Saints manager Ralph Hasenhuttl has remained a big admirer of Ruben Loftus-Cheek despite the midfielder’s modest season with relegated FulhamCredit: Getty

Loftus-Cheek, 25, has struggled for form with the Cottagers, scoring just once and registering no assists as Scott Parker’s side were relegated.

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Yet Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl remains a fan and is confident he can bring the best out of RLC should he land him in the close season.

The Austrian even namechecked Loftus-Cheek ahead of Saturday’s home clash with Fulham when discussing the talent at Parker’s disposal.

And just last month Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel had seemingly offered Loftus-Cheek hope of a long-term future at Stamford Bridge – with a glowing tribute.

And he even compared the ten-cap star to all-time great Germany hero Michael Ballack.

Tuchel said of RLC: “I was quite a fan of him when he was younger.

“He reminded me of Michael Ballack. There were links with him moving to Germany. We are well aware of his talent.

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“I don’t know why things have not worked out as he wished but now he is doing good.

“I cannot judge him from TV and hearsay. I love to work with players then to give my opinion.”

But as well as big-money Blues’ buys, fellow academy products like Mason Mount, 22, and 19-year-old Billy Gilmour are now well ahead of Loftus-Cheek in a congested battle for midfield spots.

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