Ruben Loftus-Cheek

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Sneaky good: Early “stars” of the Premier League

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I have a “smell test” for players who leap off the pitch when taking the eyeball test during Premier League play.

If, upon moving to advanced statistics sites for performance reviews, these players are still shining, then there’s a good chance they are as important to their club as it seems at first blush

[ MORE: Stats of Premier League wkend ]

Of course guys like Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Paul Pogba, Kevin De Bruyne, and Sergio Aguero are going to pass muster. But what about some guys a bit off the radar?

Are there names the numbers say we should be watching a bit more closely, so it’s not a surprise when guys like Idrissa Gana Gueye or Sam Clucas net surprising transfer fees or international acclaim?

It seems logical, and we’ve to a pair of sites which use different algorithms to rank Premier League players and saw who turned up high in both…

Lukasz Fabianski, Swansea City
WhoScored: 37th
Squawka: 1st

Paul Clement‘s side sits 14th with only two goals scored, which is possible when your backstop doesn’t allow much to beat him. Fabianski was outstanding as Swans held Spurs scoreless this weekend.

Ben Davies, Tottenham Hotspur
WhoScored: 15th
Squawka: 16th

The 24-year-old defender is averaged 3.3 key passes per game, better than everyone in the league not named Mesut Ozil, Cesc Fabregas, David Silva, and Henrikh Mkhitaryan. They aren’t defenders.

Maya Yoshida, Southampton
WhoScored: 56th
Squawka: 14th

Playing behind Oriol Romeu — and without Virgil Van Dijk — Yoshida has a goal to go with his six clearances and 3.8 aerials won per game

Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Crystal Palace
WhoScored: 22nd
Squawka: 26th

The on-loan Chelsea man was wanted by Rafa Benitez at Newcastle and a number of other locations, and has thrived despite only appearing in three matches and being on a troubled team. He’s averaged 4.7 dribbles a game and has been fouled 4.3 times per match.

Christopher Schindler and Aaron Mooy, Huddersfield Town
WhoScored: 10th (CS), 14th (AM)
Squawka: 24th (CS), 37th (AM)

It’s possible that Town has just been an analytics darling, as Steve Mounie and Laurent Depoitre also have good marks, but the Terriers have conceded just three times this season in front of Jonas Lossl. These two are a big part of the limited chances faced by the keeper, and Mooy has been holding it down for a continent the last two years.

Nicolas Otamendi, Manchester City
WhoScored: 11th
Squawka: 4th

His goal this weekend shows his capacity in the final third, but Otamendi has been a steady part of the defense as Pep Guardiola sorted out mercurial youngster John Stones and dealt with the health of Vincent Kompany.

Jamaal Lascelles, Newcastle United
WhoScored: 35th
Squawka: 49th

His numbers may be tilted by a pair of match-winning goals for high-flying Newcastle, but the big man had to get in the box to get them.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek signs for Crystal Palace on loan

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Another Chelsea youngster is heading away from Stamford Bridge.

[ MORE: Aubemayang to Chelsea?

Ruben Loftus-Cheek, 21, will spend the 2017-18 season on loan a Crystal Palace with the powerful midfielder unable to get regular minutes for Chelsea last season.

Antonio Conte rates the England U-21 star highly, but Loftus-Cheek couldn’t break in to Chelsea’s title-winning team and the Chelsea academy product will be hoping the loan move to south London will help his development.

Speaking about his move to Selhurst Park, Loftus-Cheek believes it can give him the chance to kick his career on.

“I had the option of coming to Palace and I thought that it would be great for me,” Loftus-Cheek said. “I live not too far away, I was born in Lewisham and Palace is good club so I thought it’s a good chance to play here and be a part of the team. They have a very strong team and I’d like to be a part of that this season.”

This is Loftus-Cheek’s first loan move away from Chelsea as the academy product has made 32 appearances and scored two goals over the past three seasons for the first team. He has won two Premier League titles with Chelsea and Jose Mourinho began to put him into the team during the 2014-15 campaign, famously saying he would become a full England international.

Loftus-Cheek’s departure is the latest in a long line for a crop of talented youngsters who can’t break into Chelsea’s first team despite winnint domestic and European titles at youth level for the Blues. Nathan Ake has joined Bournemouth on a permanent deal this summer, Ola Aina has joined Hull City on loan, Tammy Abraham has moved to Swansea City on loan and Nathaniel Chalobah is also expected to head out on a season-long loan to a Premier League club.

After losing central midfielders Joe Ledley and Mathieu Flamini who both became free agents, Loftus-Cheek fills a big void in Frank De Boer‘s midfield as the Dutchman plans to give younger players a chance at Selhurst. James McArthur, Yohan Cabaye and Jason Puncheon will all compete with Loftus-Cheek for a role in central midfield.

A powerful run and slick passer, this loan move will likely make or break Loftus-Cheek’s career. He will have the chance to prove he is worthy of a regular starting spot in the Premier League and, like most of his former academy teammates at Chelsea, that will likely be outside of Stamford Bridge in the future.

Report: Palace set to land Loftus-Cheek on loan from Chelsea

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Crystal Palace has won the race to sign Ruben Loftus-Cheek on loan, according to the BBC.

Loftus-Cheek, 21, was also thought to be a target for Newcastle United, but instead could opt for Selhurst Park on this expected season-long loan.

Frank De Boer would add his first player since being hired by Palace.

[ MORE: How will USMNT line up? ]

Loftus-Cheek has 32 appearances for Chelsea with two goals, one of those being a marker in the Premier League two seasons ago. He made just 11 total appearances for Antonio Conte last season, and did not score a goal.

The 21-year-old can play a variety of midfield or attacking roles, and would join Yohan Cabaye and Luka Milivojevic in Palace’s engine room.

Transfer rumor roundup: Man United targets Weigl, Loftus-Cheek to Newcastle?

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With Premier League sides getting closer and closer to their return to the pitch next month, moves are coming in hot.

Here’s a look at some of Thursday’s top stories.


Manchester United is preparing to strike it hot with a move for Everton’s Romelu Lukaku, but Jose Mourinho could also be in the market for some midfield help as the Red Devils target a Borussia Dortmund man.

United is said to be intrigued by BVB’s Julian Weigl as an option in the central midfield after previously showing interest in Chelsea’s Nemanja Matic and Eric Dier of Tottenham.


Promotion side Newcastle is reportedly interested in acquiring Chelsea’s Ruben Loftus-Cheek as the club returns to the PL in 2017/18.

The Englishman made just 11 appearances for Antonio Conte‘s side last season in all competitions, and the move would surely allow the midfielder to receive more playing time.


With Lukaku closing on a move away from Goodison Park, Everton is lining up its potential replacement at striker.

The club is reportedly seeking out Mexican international Raul Jimenez, with the 26-year-old coming off of an 11-goal season for Portuguese side Benfica.


Leicester has acquired Sevilla midfielder Vicente Iborra on a four-year contract to help bolster the club’s strength in the center of the park.

The 29-year-old tallied seven goals for the La Liga side last season.

Loan watch: Which PL figures could boost relegation battlers?

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The transfer window is a chance for fixes, but also for developmental time.

The incredible depth of some of the Premier League’s top dogs means that some of the top flight’s lesser lights can see their relegation fears lessened — and even saved — by an injection of short-term talent.

[ MORE: Hull City agrees Snodgrass fee ]

Hull City and Liverpool are hoping to mutually benefit from Lazar Markovic‘s move to the Tigers, for example.

Who are some key pieces who also fit this bill? As with any loan story, the list starts with Chelsea.

1) Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Chelsea — The 20-year-old striker has yet to leave the Blues on loan, but several clubs would love to give him a run in their forward ranks. Newcastle United was linked with him, but Premier League outfits like Stoke and West Brom were also mentioned.

2) Michy Batshuayi, Chelsea — Often mentioned as a loan make-weight to bring Fernando Llorente from Swansea, Batshuayi needs PL playing time to develop into a player Antonio Conte feels he can trust.

3) Anthony Martial, Manchester United — A year ago, many — including myself — were jabbing Arsene Wenger for not matching the money Louis Van Gaal paid to bring the Frenchman to Old Trafford. What a difference a manager makes, and what a difference Martial could make at a PL relegation battler.

4) Asmir Begovic, Chelsea — He wants to play, and Bournemouth very much wants him. Now Chelsea has to decide whether an adequate replacement is available.

5) Chuba Akpom, Arsenal – Aston Villa has been linked with the Gunners striker, and the 21-year-old will not be bathing in playing time with Lucas Perez, Olivier Giroud, and many other options ahead of him.

6) Jordan Rhodes, Middlesbrough – Not a PL giant, but also surplus to plans for Aitor Karanka. Given the massive buzz around his choosing a new Championship club this season, could Boro and another PL side work out a deal that keeps him in the Boro stables? Seems unlikely Karanka would want to help a relegation candidate, so the Championship seems more likely.