Thursday 13 December 2018

Crystal Palace ready to bid if Chelsea decide to sell Ruben Loftus-Cheek

Ruben Loftus-Cheek has impressed during his time with Crystal Palace
Ruben Loftus-Cheek has impressed during his time with Crystal Palace

Roy Hodgson has revealed Crystal Palace would love to sign Ruben Loftus-Cheek on a permanent basis.

He has also warned any potential bidders for Wilfried Zaha that they are wasting their time.

Both Loftus-Cheek and Zaha have been instrumental in the remarkable improvement seen since Hodgson's appointment as manager, in which Palace have climbed to mid-table from near-certainties for relegation.

If Zaha has produced the finest and most consistent form of his career, Loftus-Cheek - on loan from Chelsea - has emerged as one of England's most exciting prospects and made his senior international debut.

Chelsea's bid to sign Ross Barkley may further reduce Loftus-Cheek's first-team prospects there.

Asked about the 21-year-old midfielder, Hodgson said: "He's a player we'd like to have at our club, there's no doubt about that.

"Ruben's a player we like very much. We're very impressed with him, delighted with the way he's developed as a player during the time he's been here. I'm pretty sure that if he's ever available for sale, we would certainly be in there with our hand up as one of the potential buyers.

"It could well be that Chelsea would like to have both Ross Barkley and Ruben Loftus-Cheek in their team. I wouldn't mind both in my team, anyway.

"I didn't know until this morning that Ross Barkley is possibly signing for Chelsea."

Zaha has been the subject of even greater praise than Loftus-Cheek, but at a time when Palace intend on strengthening their squad, Hodgson insists the club's chairman Steve Parish has told him the 25-year-old forward will not be sold.

"People who make offers for Wilfried Zaha are basically wasting their time," said Hodgson, whose team play Brighton in the FA Cup on Monday.

"I'm certainly not expecting it. I have it on very clear authority from the chairman and owners of the club that they have no interest in selling Wilfried Zaha: quite the opposite.

"Our job is to keep all of the players we've got, who've been doing reasonably well for us in the past few weeks, to keep all of them, keep them fit, and add to it, and make ourselves stronger.

"I would advise people thinking of making offers to save it, because they're going to be turned away, and might just be wasting the price of a phone call."

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