Former Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri has asked Lazio to make Ruben Loftus-Cheek his first signing, according to reports in Italy.
The 25-year-old midfielder has just spent the campaign on loan at Fulham and played 32 matches for Scott Parker’s side in all competitions.
Loftus-Cheek was outstanding at Chelsea during Sarri’s single season at Stamford Bridge, and the Italian coach claimed in 2019 that the midfielder ‘can be one of Europe’s best players’.
But an Achilles injury at the end of the 2018-19 season kept Loftus-Cheek on the sidelines for 13 months, and he is now working his way back towards securing a regular role in the team at Chelsea.
However, Sky Sport Italia says that Sarri wants to bring Loftus-Cheek to Lazio as one of his first transfers at the club.
Sarri is expected to be named as Lazio’s new head coach at some point this week and he has asked the club’s owner, Claudio Lotito, to sign Loftus-Cheek this summer transfer window.
Speaking earlier this year, Loftus-Cheek named Sarri as the most influential coach in his career so far. He told Fulham’s matchday programme: ‘I felt like he was truthful with me.
‘At the start, I wasn’t playing. He told me why and said if I want to play, I have to do this and that gave me something to work towards and eventually I started to do what he asked and I played.
‘That gave me confidence to know that if I keep doing that, I’ll keep playing. Then you start to get more understanding of the game. ‘I played in an eight role, with one deep, so I had the licence to go forward and affect the game in that way.
‘I felt that was a good season and in my head after that season I was like ‘we kick on next season’, but obviously got the bad injury which halted my progression, but now it’s time to build up again.’