Chelsea's on-loan midfielder Oriol Romeu has refused to rule out the prospect of a permanent move to Germany after admitting he is enjoying his time at Stuttgart.
The Sun carries quotes from the 23-year-old which intimate a desire to quit Stamford Bridge, less than three months after signing a contract extension in west London that ties him to the club until 2017.
Jose Mourinho will surely be surprised to hear the former Barcelona man's latest comments, particularly after rewarding him with a new deal prior to shipping him out to the Bundesliga for the 2014/15 campaign.
"My main objective is to improve my game and I think I can still improve a lot," said Romeu in an interview with bundesliga.com. "The Bundesliga is a good league to grow and to become a better player.
"We'll see what happens, but now I'm focused on the present and helping the team.
"I don't know what will happen in the next few years but I will never say no to staying in Stuttgart because they have treated me amazingly so far and I'm really happy here."
Competition for places
Romeu has struggled to nail down a regular spot in the Chelsea team since moving to the Premier League in 2011. He spent last season back in La Liga with Valencia before heading to the Mercedes-Benz Arena in August.
Mourinho is understood to be a huge fan of the Spaniard, but with competition for places in midfield arguably at an all-time high, the Portuguese coach thought it best for the youngster to continue his development in the German top-flight, where he'd get the opportunity to play regular first-team football.
Nemanja Matic and Cesc Fabregas have made the central midfield positions their own this season, and with the likes of Ramires and John Obi Mikel both ahead of Romeu in the pecking order as well, he could be forgiven for holding frustration regarding his chances moving forward.
Asked specifically about his hopes with Stuttgart for the current season, Romeu identified the need to improve performances with Armin Veh's side currently sat in the relegation zone after seven games, but insisted that he and his new team-mates would be doing everything they can to push on up the table.
"I'm trying to settle in as quickly as I can. I've been involved in every game so I'm really happy about that," he added. "I would like the team to be in a better position but we've got a good squad and have the potential to improve. I hope we can do that soon.
"Of course we all want to be up there fighting for better positions but it's not easy and right now we're third from bottom. We have to improve because the team is better than our results have shown so far.
"In the past I was in teams that were always in the top five or six. Right now we're not in those places but I think we can, and have to, be much better. The main thing is to trust in ourselves."
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