Ruben Loftus-Cheek has no need to leave Chelsea, says Dennis Wise, with a loan switch no longer making sense for a man who has played his way into favour under Maurizio Sarri.
Early in the season, as the 22-year-old struggled for game time, it was expected that a move would be made in January.
Various landing spots were mooted for the England international, with a second stint at Crystal Palace considered to be one possibility.
Wise has, however, questioned why Loftus-Cheek would want such a switch, with a run of form since late October having delivered outings in the Premier League, Europa League and six goals.
Quizzed by the Evening Standard on whether the highly-rated midfielder should look for a loan, a Blues legend said: “No, I don’t think he should.
“He [Sarri] has played him a number of times. He’s got competition for places but why would Loftus-Cheek want to go on loan?
“I’ll pick Crystal Palace just because he went there on loan. Why would you want to go there on loan, to a team where you’ll play a lot of games but you’ll be in a battle down the bottom when you can play in a team full of top international players, fighting to win trophies and trying to get in the Champions League?
“I think he’s improved so much. This is a process for him and I think it’s important he stays at Chelsea and he fights.
“He’s very close to being one of the players who could take one of those shirts and stay in there and he has to carry that on until the end of the season.
“He’s got the opportunity to do it now that he’s thought of in a different way than when he went out on loan.
“Maurizio said it: he won’t go out on loan. He’s stepped up to another level. He will be the one fighting for that offensive spot.”
Loftus-Cheek has made 11 appearances for Chelsea this season, but only one of those has come as a starter in Premier League competition.
He may get another opportunity to impress on Thursday when Sarri’s side wrap up their Europa League Group L campaign with a trip to Hungary to take on Vidi.