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Report: Loan interest in Fulham’s USMNT youngster de la Torre is high

Fulham v Sampdoria - Pre-Season Friendly

ALDERSHOT, ENGLAND - AUGUST 01: Luca de la Torre of Fulham during the Pre-Season Friendly between Fulham v Sampdoria at the EBB Stadium on August 1, 2018 in Aldershot, England. (Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images)

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According to a report by HITC Sports’ Pete O’Rourke about a week ago, there is high interest around Europe for Fulham youngster Luca de la Torre.

The 20-year-old, who made his senior debut for the USMNT in early June, coming in off the bench for the final 13 minutes of a 2-1 loss to Ireland, less than a year after making his league debut for the club the previous October.

While de la Torre has yet to appear in a Premier League match for Fulham, he has played 101 minutes in two EFL Cup matches this season, including an 85-minute Man of the Match appearance against Millwall where he scored a goal and assisted two others in a 3-1 win. De la Torre also impressed in preseason, and is highly regarded by Fulham as a top academy prospect.

The report states that the San Diego-born midfielder has intrigued teams around Europe to the point of inquiry, with “several sides at the top end of the Championship chasing promotion and a number of clubs in France, Holland, Germany, Portugal and Belgium” all contacting the club about a potential loan.

De la Torre left USMNT camp early this past international break to return to Fulham amid a managerial change, hoping to use the days off to impress new boss Claudio Ranieri. The United States had a match in London against England, and the 20-year-old stayed there to rejoin Fulham while the rest of the squad departed for Genk to take on Italy.

With the January transfer window nearing, it’s possible that de la Torre could be on the move soon. However, with Ranieri still hoping to sort out Fulham’s midfield in the midst of a relegation battle, it’s also possible that he stays to fight for a place in the squad. Tom Cairney has not been able to replicate his Championship form of the last few years amidst injuries and poor play, while new signing Jean-Michael Seri has slowed after a hot start to his Premier League career. Andre Schurrle has played up the middle of late, but the German international seems to be at his best out wide, potentially allowing for de la Torre to slide in if Cairney’s injuries persist or he’s unable to improve on his poor form.

Former Fulham boss Slavisa Jokanovic liked to use Cup matches to get youth products time on the field, and de la Torre was the beneficiary of such preferences, but it remains to be seen how Ranieri will treat the academy youngsters. De la Torre was not in the matchday squad for Ranieri’s 3-2 debut win over Southampton, with Cairney starting and attacking midfielders Neeskins Kebano and Floyd Ayite preferred on the bench.

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