Why Chelsea are ready to block two academy stars from leaving

Tuchel a fan of Loftus-Cheek: ‘He reminds me of Ballack, but his future at Chelsea is unclear’

Chelsea could keep academy graduates Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Ethan Ampadu at the club this season.

The Blues have stuck to their usual methods of loaning several players out this summer, and the pair were expected to suffer the same fate.

However, it now looks at though they will remain at Stamford Bridge, as manager Thomas Tuchel is keen on having plenty of options in the midfield positions.

The German boss is happy with the trio of N'Golo Kante, Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic, but then an injury or two could become a serious issue.

After all, a Premier League title challenge could depend on the ability to rotate the squad, particularly in the winter period.

Chelsea's midfield

Chelsea have been linked with signing a fourth central midfielder this window, with Atletico Madrid's Saul Niguez and Monaco's Aurelien Tchouameni thought to be high up on the shortlist.

And while a deal for either of those players could still take place, it seems as though the club are prioritising the sale of Kurt Zouma to West Ham which would allow for the signing of Jules Kounde from Sevilla.

As such, the Blues are unwilling to let Loftus-Cheek or Ampadu leave on loan, according to Goal, with the pair set to occupy backup midfield roles in the first-team squad.

Loftus-Cheek appears more likely to receive gametime this season, as Tuchel aims the unearth the potential the 25-year-old showed before an Achilles injury stunted his progress in 2019.

“I was quite a fan of him when he was even younger,” Tuchel said of Loftus-Cheek earlier this year. “His style of play and movements reminded me a bit of Michael Ballack.''

He spent last season on loan at west London rivals Fulham where he impressed in parts, but couldn't save the club from relegation.

As for Ampadu, he spent the last campaign at Sheffield United, another of the relegated teams for the 2020/21 Premier League.

Again, showing signs of promise, the 20-year-old is yet to find his feet in top-level football and part of that is not knowing his best position.

Ampadu has been used as a central defender and a central midfielder in his career, but, unlike Loftus-Cheek, has plenty of years to work on his game before he is expected to reach his potential.