West Ham United have reportedly opened talks with Chelsea for midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek.

Last season, Ruben Loftus-Cheek’s rise and involvement in the first team was one of the few positives for Chelsea. Under the watchful gaze of interim manager Guus Hiddink, he would score 2 goals and register 3 assists for the Blues in all competitions. He was rewarded with a new contract in February, which would see him stay at the club till 2021.

However, this season the youngster has featured only twice for the Blues and has been unable to break into Antonio Conte’s first team. Antonio Conte’s 3-4-3 formation only allows for 2 central midfielders, which means that Ruben has to compete with the likes of Nemanja Matic, N’golo Kante, Oscar, Cesc Fabregas and fellow academy graduate Nathaniel Chalobah for places in the squad.

According to Transfermarketweb.com, Chelsea’s cross town rivals West Ham United are interested in the young Englishman. The report states that Slaven Bilic’s side have initiated talks with Chelsea over a possible move for the 20-year-old. The nature of the move remains unclear, but it is likely that West Ham will try to take the player on loan for the rest of the season.

Chelsea's English midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek (C) runs with the ball challenged by Bristol Rovers' English midfielder Stuart Sinclair (R) during the English League Cup second round football match between Chelsea and Bristol Rovers at Stamford Bridge in London on August 23, 2016. / AFP / GLYN KIRK / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. / (Photo credit should read GLYN KIRK/AFP/Getty Images)

Chelsea’s English midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek (C) runs with the ball challenged by Bristol Rovers’ English midfielder Stuart Sinclair (R) during the English League Cup second round football match between Chelsea and Bristol Rovers at Stamford Bridge in London on August 23, 2016. (Photo by Glyn Kirk/AFP/Getty Images)

In yesterday’s pre-match press conference, the Italian provided an update on Ruben and what the future might hold for him.

“I’m sure that Ruben has great potential, and I think it’s important to show this, to improve a lot on different aspects. Now he’s in our squad,” he said.

“This season, he had a few injuries. But now he’s in good form and I count on him.”

He went on to say that there would come a time, where he would speak with the club and take the best decision regarding his future, but that the youngster had his trust for now.

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Much was expected from the youngster this season after the arrival of Antonio Conte. Fans were hopeful that the Italian would be able to mould him into a world class superstar, much like he did with Paul Pogba at Juventus. But there have been no signs of progress regarding his development over the course of the current campaign, and a loan move away would be beneficial for all parties involved.

West Ham have been struggling this season, and they currently sit on 17th place in the table, 1 point away from the relegation zone. Slaven Bilic’s side are struggling with injuries, which should allow the youngster to get enough opportunities to impress Antonio Conte whilst getting some valuable minutes under his belt. A temporary move across London might just be what the youngster needs to get his Chelsea career back on track.

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