According to the Chronicle, Rafa Benitez is an admirer of Ruben Loftus-Cheek and made attempts to sign the Chelsea midfielder prior to his loan move to Crystal Palace last summer.
The 22-year-old midfielder has been a big hit at Palace, so much so that he’s earned a place in Gareth Southgate’s England’s squad for this summer – earning a place ahead of our very own Jonjo Shelvey and Arsenal’s Jack Wilshere.
He’s rated highly at Chelsea and it’s no surprise that Rafa wanted him at NUFC, with him being capable of playing in midfield, out wide or as a number 10.
Claims that Rafa tried to sign him resurfaced from the Chronicle’s Craig Johns, who suggested that Benitez wanted to bring him to Tyneside prior to his eventual loan move to Palace last summer:
“Rafa is a fan of the Chelsea midfielder, having tried to sign him in the past.
“He spent the season on loan at Crystal Palace and Roy Hodgson has expressed his desire to make that a permanent deal.”
It’s worth mentioning that we would not have been able to loan more than one player from the same club, meaning the temporary signing of Kenedy would’ve been impossible if we had agreed to a deal for Loftus Cheek last summer.
He’s a big unit, physically impressive and has surprisingly quick feet for a bloke of his size, so maybe it’s one Rafa will re-visit this summer – although it looks like Crystal Palace may be ahead of us in the queue after such a successful spell with them last season.
That being said, he could easily find himself in the Chelsea’s team next season if he impresses at the World Cup this summer..