Former Crystal Palace midfielder Shaun Derry has spoken of his desire to see Chelsea's Ruben Loftus-Cheek return to the club in January, insisting it could be one of the best signings of the winter transfer window.
Loftus-Cheek earned his first taste of consistent senior football on loan at Selhurst Park last season, impressing enough to earn his spot in England's World Cup squad during the summer. However, he has struggled for minutes back at his parent club, making just two brief substitute appearances in the Premier League this season.
Derry, speaking on The Palace Fans' Show on Love Sport Radio, made no secret of his wish for Loftus-Cheek to return to Crystal Palace. He said: "If the chairman and the football club can attract Ruben back, I think it would be one of the biggest transfers in January.
"He was brilliant last year, he really was.
"I watched him two or three times live, and saw him in the highlights, and I just think he is very graceful in the way that he is such a big, imposing figure on the pitch.
"And you talk about bravery, that boy just wants the ball all the time.
"I just felt that he found a little niche with Roy and the coaching staff last year, so to get him back in January would be immense, but I'm sure there would be three, four or five other clubs wanting him as well."
With opportunities under Maurizio Sarri seemingly hard to come by for Loftus-Cheek, the 22-year-old has been linked with an exit from the club, either temporarily or permanently. A return to Crystal Palace has regularly been suggested, with manager Roy Hodgson previously admitting to football.london that he would be interested in bringing the midfielder back to the club.
In a season which was disrupted by injury, Loftus-Cheek managed 24 league appearances for The Eagles, regularly looking like one of the side's most dangerous players. There had been hopes that he would become a regular at Chelsea, but the arrivals of Mateo Kovacic and Jorginho appear to have presented even more obstacles for the youngster at Stamford Bridge.