Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has said that he may use the ‘superb evolution’ of highly-rated youngster Ruben Loftus-Cheek as a reason to drop out of the race to sign Paul Pogba.
The towering midfielder, 19, has emerged as one of the club’s brightest prospects from youth level and made his senior debut in the 3-1 Champions League win over Sporting Lisbon in December.
Speculation has mounted that Mourinho could rival Manchester United for Juventus midfielder Pogba – rated at around £55 million – this summer, with Real Madrid seemingly ending their interest.
However, the Portuguese has played down a big-money move for the Frenchman, 22, and revealed that he expects Loftus-Cheek to be a prominent member of his side next term.
“I think he will be a player to compete for a position. Now is the moment to protect him,” he told reporters.
“If in this moment we were sixth or seventh, he would play. But Ruben is a player I expect to compete for a place in the team next season, his evolution is superb.
“I don’t speak about Pogba or other players. We look to our midfield players and between Fabregas, Matic, Ramires, Ruben, we have a good group.”
Would Chelsea be right to end their pursuit of Pogba in favour of giving Loftus-Cheek a chance? Let us know in the comments below.