Southampton & West Ham Join Aston Villa in Pursuit of Ruben Loftus-Cheek

Frank Lampard, Ruben Loftus-Cheek
Loftus-Cheek may be on the move this summer | Craig Mercer/MB Media/Getty Images

Southampton and West Ham have reportedly entered the running to sign Chelsea midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek, with Aston Villa also considering a move for the 24-year-old.

Plenty of conclusions have already been drawn over his future as a result of Frank Lampard's team selections; Loftus-Cheek was named in the starting XI to face Brighton, but failed to impress in the Blues' 3-1 victory, and hasn't been named in the matchday squad in the the two games since.

He was left out altogether for the 6-0 EFL Cup thrashing of Barnsley, even with Billy Gilmour, Hakim Ziyech and Christian Pulisic - all of whom are potential alternatives to the England midfielder - out injured. It's perhaps not a wild assumption, then, that he could be moved on before the transfer window closes in October.

It was reported by The Telegraph earlier this week that Villa wanted to take him on loan, and it now seems as if they are not the only club with an interest. The Guardian claim that West Ham are vying with the Midlands club over a loan deal, while The Mail lead with Southampton, who reportedly see him as a replacement for Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, who left for Spurs earlier in the window.

Competition for places in Chelsea's midfield is tough, with the arrivals of Kai Havertz and Ziyech only adding to some impressive depth. Loftus-Cheek, who has made 82 appearances for the club, is still recovering from injury, and would likely be keen to rediscover the form he showed on loan with Crystal Palace in 2017/18 - even if it meant another spell away from Stamford Bridge.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Ross Barkley
Loftus-Cheek hasn't been seen since leaving the pitch against Brighton | Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

When asked following the resounding Barnsley win, Lampard refused to rule out a move before the window closes. He told reporters: "I keep getting asked about the size of the squad. There might be movement, we know that, but nothing is concrete so don’t read too much into those selections at the minute.

"It will have to be things which are right for the club and individuals and me and in terms of what happens in the next couple of weeks.”