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If the media are to be believed then it seems Chelsea went all out to try and get Paul Pogba this transfer window, but failed to prize the young player away from Juventus.
This was a statement from Chelsea that suggested quite obviously that they feel they need another player in the centre of the park. So who do they have who can fill that gap?
They have John Obi Mikel, but he is more defensive and a better replacement for Matic. Fabregas plays there but it seems, to get the best of him, he should be starting further up the pitch. Then there is Ramires, who is a useful player but arguably a downgrade to the likes of the more powerful Pogba.
Mikel, a replacement for Matic
As I mentioned that Mikel is more of a replacement for Matic, they are defensively orientated players. Their job is to help out the defence more than help out the attack. The type of player Chelsea are looking for is one that not only contributes in defence, but also gets forward to join attacks.
A midfield commander who can dictate the game. A player who will defend, but can also contribute goals and assists.
Loftus-Creek the man?
You might be able to tell already that I think, this season, Ruben Loftus-Cheek has to be given the chance to prove himself in that position.
I have mentioned it before, and when I say ‘given a chance’ I really mean, give him a run of games. Don’t give him 15 minutes here and there. Play him, a lot. See how he copes. Chelsea have started badly and could do with an injection of youth and speed in the middle of the pitch.
Jose Mourinho called him out in pre-season and said his work rate off the ball was not good enough. And of course there will be places he needs to improve, he is far from the finished article. He needs to be pushed to become a better player.
However, I seeing something in Loftus-Cheek. I watched his short performances in the u-21 World Cup. When he came on he not only looked lively, but like he had quality. His quick fire decision-making could be better, but that should come in time.
It’s not just that he looks good against the youth teams he plays against, although that is an admittance to the fact that he looks ready to step up. He looks assured on the ball, he looks like a player who has ability, potential, many call it.
He has all the attributes necessary, he is a tall lad but with a good touch. He can dribble, pass, shoot and tackle. He seems to read the game well and looks athletic enough to be a real powerhouse. This style of player is highly sought after in the world of football.
Particularly, the attribute of dribbling which is one so often needed a taller player. It is something that make Paul Pogba stand out. A player like Ramires has a ability but often, when running with the ball, never really looks like he is in control particularly when running at pace.
Loftus-Cheek looks in control all the time, in tight spaces and at a quick pace and that, to me, is very important.
Ready to step up?
He does look like he is ready to step up and there is an obvious place to play him. It’s not going to be easy for him. The Premier League is a completely different proposition and the standard across all teams is extremely high. However, we won’t know if he can adapt until he gets a proper run of games.
If I were Mourinho, Loftus-Cheek would be a permanent fixture in my team for the next few games. If he struggles I will take him off, if he looks like he isn’t adapting after a solid few games, I would stop playing him all together.
Now is not the time for protecting him though, now is the time to put him out and see what he can do.
This piece was first published at the excellent The Players Only Club here.
Written by Jonny Troy
Follow Jonny on Twitter @Jonny_Troy
Check out his excellent football blog, where this piece was originally published: The Players Only Club
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