Chelsea's Ramires Sale Is Good News for Emerging Star Ruben Loftus-Cheek

Garry HayesFeatured ColumnistJanuary 28, 2016

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 04:  Ramires of Chelsea during the UEFA Champions League Group G match between Chelsea and Dynamo Kyiv at Stamford Bridge on November 4, 2015 in London, United Kingdom.  (Photo by Catherine Ivill - AMA/Getty Images)
Catherine Ivill - AMA/Getty Images

Chelsea haven't just returned to form on the pitch; the Blues it seems have rediscovered their Midas touch in the transfer market.

Well, sort of, as we're expecting the imminent loan signing of Pato that will restore the balance of good and evil in the Blues' transfer dealings.

Focusing on the positives for now, Ramires departed Stamford Bridge for £25 million this week when he joined Chinese outfit Jiangsu Suning. It's a move that brings in significant funds for Chelsea to reinvest into a squad that is desperate for regeneration.

That Chelsea have made a significant profit on Ramires after five-and-a-half years' service is all the more impressive.

His departure also means Ruben Loftus-Cheek's future is looking brighter.

LEICESTER, ENGLAND - APRIL 29:  Ramires of Chelsea (L) celebrates scoring their third goal with Cesar Azpilicueta of Chelsea  during the Barclays Premier League match between Leicester City and Chelsea at The King Power Stadium on April 29, 2015 in Leices
Michael Regan/Getty Images

Loftus-Cheek turned 20 at the weekend and is the bright, young hope for Chelsea's academy. His emergence has a now-or-never feel about it, that if Loftus-Cheek doesn't become a Chelsea regular, none of this upcoming generation will.

He's the leader of the pack and, if he can break through, the hope is others shouldn't be too far behind in repeating his success.

Everything about Loftus-Cheek smacks of him being a Chelsea player. He's a big, physical presence, yet he's equally a fine athlete. He has the ability to burst past opponents with his pace and in time the expectation is that he'll become the club's battering ram from midfield.

Leaving his teens behind him as he steps into manhood, Loftus-Cheek's time is now. With Ramires no longer a part of the picture, the pathway is becoming clearer.

Too often in the past Chelsea have allowed expensive fringe players to stunt the growth of youth. We've seen too many talented young stars fade away prematurely through a lack of game time that's impacted their confidence and development.

Chelsea's English midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek applauds the fans following the FA Cup third-round football match between Chelsea and Scunthorpe United at Stamford Bridge in London on January 10, 2016. Chelsea won the match 2-0.   AFP PHOTO / GLYN KIRK

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GLYN KIRK/Getty Images

A succession of managers haven't looked beyond the experienced stars at Stamford Bridge for a host of reasons, namely because salaries talk in football.

If a player earning close to a six-figure salary every week is available, it usually earns him a place on the bench at least. His value as a commodity is too high to allow him to waste away in the name of promoting an unknown and untried youngster.

The logic stands to reason. Football is big business and clubs must squeeze everything they can from their expensive assets.

Times are hopefully changing in West London, with Ramires' departure hinting at being the first of many moves to reshape the squad with more focus on youth.

The plan shouldn't be to flood the starting XI with inexperienced faces, but more to give those young players opportunities from the fringes. Up to now, that simply hasn't happened enough.

LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 10:  Ruben Loftus-Cheek of Chelsea (36) celebrates with Cesar Azpilicueta (28) as he scores their second goal during the Emirates FA Cup third round match between Chelsea and Scunthorpe United at Stamford Bridge on January 10, 20
Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Ramires featured just seven times in the Premier League this season. Between now and May, those cameo appearances he was offered in the first half of the campaign should fall to Loftus-Cheek, who operates in a similar area of the pitch.

Ramires' sale is positive on plenty of other levels, too. We all remember his delightful chip over Victor Valdes in the Champions League semi-final of 2012, but those moments of brilliance from the Brazilian have been few since.

Chelsea can ill-afford to look back doe-eyed, and perhaps now the club is finally taking those steps in moving away from a generation of players who delivered success in their prime.

Guus Hiddink is in temporary charge at Stamford Bridge, but he's leading the rebuilding process ahead of the club appointing his full-time replacement in the summer.

A big part of that will involve reshaping the squad he inherited. In the two transfer windows that preceded the one we're currently enduring, the Blues were guilty of inactivity.

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 21: Kenedy of Chelsea and Andre Wisdom of Norwich City compete for the ball during the Barclays Premier League match between Chelsea and Norwich City at Stamford Bridge on November 21, 2015 in London, England.  (Photo by Paul Gi
Paul Gilham/Getty Images

Not much changed, and a failure to ship out players who were rapidly becoming surplus has hindered the team's overall progress.

Hiddink must get Chelsea's next manager ahead of the game. As well as some clever trades, that also means blooding more youngsters to allow the new man to make a valid assessment of just what he has at his disposal.

Outside of Loftus-Cheek, Kenedy, Bertrand Traore and Patrick Bamford need the opportunities to prove they can establish themselves in West London.

Selling Ramires has got the ball rolling on many fronts and Chelsea can't stop there.

 

Garry Hayes is Bleacher Report's lead Chelsea correspondent. All quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted. Follow him on Twitter @garryhayes