Despite being out of the first team for almost two years, Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel has offered Ruben Loftus-Cheek a surprise lifeline.
Loftus-Cheek was once seen as Chelsea's next great hope when he broke into the first team in 2014; he made 82 appearances over the next seven years.
However, since his debut, talents such as Mason Mount and Callum Hudson-Odoi have emerged, leaving Loftus-Cheek stuck between a rock and a hard place.
In an attempt to gain some first-team experience, the Englishman joined both Fulham and Crystal Palace on loan – where he has shown glimpses of his potential.
However, when asked about Loftus-Cheek returning to Stamford Bridge in the summer Tuchel made a surprising comparison.
"He reminded me a little bit in his style of play and movement of Michael Ballack.
"There were some links about him moving to Germany – we were well aware of him. I don’t know why things didn’t work out but he’s doing well on loan now and leaving his footprint."
Tuchel – who is obviously keen on Loftus-Cheek – then provided an update on his Chelsea future: "It is not decided yet.
"I was quite a fan of him when he was even younger and he came through the academy and started playing professional football.
"I love to work with players but I need a direct impression and we don’t have that yet. I don’t know what his ideas are or what the club are thinking. We haven’t made a decision yet.’
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