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Mykhailo Mudryk, Reece James, Pulisic – Chelsea injury news and return dates ahead of West Ham

For the first time in a number of months, Graham Potter looks to no longer have more than 10 players on the injury list with Reece James, Ben Chilwell and Raheem Sterling all making their returns last week. James was deemed fit enough to start against Fulham, while Chilwell and Sterling returned to action with cameos from the bench.

The Blues remain without Armando Broja, N’Golo Kante, Denis Zakaria, Edouard Mendy, Christian Pulisic and Wesley Fofana, but the latter looks set to be the next player to make a matchday squad return with the Frenchman now back training on the grass.

Following their goalless draw with Fulham, another London derby awaits with Chelsea set to travel to the London Stadium to take on West Ham, who are also suffering from a number of injuries to key players.

With that said, we have taken a look at the latest injury news from Stamford Bridge ahead of Potter doing battle with David Moyes on Saturday.

Mykhailo Mudryk

Mudryk was brought off at half-time in the Blues’ clash with Fulham. At first, the decision to replace the winger appeared to be tactical but Potter later confirmed otherwise.

The 22-year-old posted an Instagram story on Monday of what looks to be the grass pitches at Cobham which could indicate he is back to 100 per cent and training again.

What Potter has said: “He’s had a heavy cold this week and he was just feeling heavy-legged at half time and we didn’t want to take a chance. He’s still in the process where we’re building up his minutes after the break he was on in Ukraine. So that was our decision there.”

Expected return date: West Ham (A) – February 11

Reece James

James was named in the starting line-up against Fulham and he was brought off at the hour mark. The Blues will be looking to ease the right-back back in the frame amid worries that he could trigger another injury.

What Potter said: “Ben Chilwell, Reece James, Raheem Sterling, and Ruben [Loftus-Cheek] are back in the squad, not ready for 90 minutes but in the squad.”

Injury: Knee

Expected return date: West Ham (A) – February 11

Ben Chilwell

Cucurella was preferred to Chilwell against Fulham but the Englishman made his return from injury as a substitute late into the second-half.

What Potter said: “Ben Chilwell, Reece James, Raheem Sterling, and Ruben [Loftus-Cheek] are back in the squad, not ready for 90 minutes but in the squad.”

Injury: Thigh

Expected return date: West Ham (A) – February 11

Raheem Sterling

Potter also welcomed back Sterling to his squad and the former Man City man got his first taste of minutes in over a month as he came on against Fulham in the second-half.

What Potter said: “Ben Chilwell, Reece James, Raheem Sterling, and Ruben [Loftus-Cheek] are back in the squad, not ready for 90 minutes but in the squad.”

Injury: Hamstring

Expected return date: West Ham (A) – February 11

Christian Pulisic

Pulisic has issued a two-word hint on his Chelsea return date as he continues to nurse a knee injury. The 24-year-old came off second best in a collision with John Stones when the Blues locked horns with Manchester City in the Premier League earlier last month.

The winger has posted an image on himself from when he limped off the pitch against City. Pulisic simply captioned his post: “Back soon.”

https://www.instagram.com/p/CoPnUKIokSf/?utm_source=ig_web_button_share_sheet

What Potter said: “No chance, no, he will be out past that [January transfer deadline] and there was never any consideration about him leaving anyway. He is a couple of months out.

“He is disappointed but he is optimistic about coming back quicker than two months. He is in that phase where he is keeping his fingers crossed and hoping his rehab goes well.”

Injury: Knee

Expected return date: March

N’Golo Kante

Kante has suffered an injury-ridden campaign thus far but the midfielder has finally returned to the pitches at Cobham, albeit training alone. The Frenchman is getting closer to full fitness but, until he joins the first-team group, a debut under Potter is left to be desired.

What Potter said: “N’Golo did his first couple of days out training on his own but there is still a long, long way to go.”

Injury: Hamstring

Expected return date: Early March

Wesley Fofana

Having missed most of the season so far, former Leicester man Wesley Fofana’s influence at the back has been somewhat felt in his absence. However, in a huge boost to the Blues and the defender himself, it appears as though a return is just around the corner, having been pictured in training again.

He was not named in the squad to face Fulham. However, the Frenchman has seemingly now joined full first-team training after judging by his latest Instagram story.

What Potter said: “Wesley [Fofana] has been part training partly with the team and he will be stepping it up next week.”

Injury: Knee

Expected return date: West Ham (A) – February 11

Denis Zakaria

The Chelsea loanee has impressed, forcing his way into the first-team after a slow start to his career at Stamford Bridge. However, in a huge blow to the side, he was forced off after 56 minutes in the defeat to Fulham last month.

What Potter said: “Denis is going to be probably four weeks. It’s the top of his quad and that is a blow for us. Hopefully, he can return sooner.”

Injury: Thigh

Expected return date: February

Edouard Mendy

Chelsea confirmed that Mendy had undergone an operation on a fractured finger sustained during training, meaning he will be absent from the squad in the coming games. The Senegalese shot-stopper was not in the squad to face Fulham.

Injury: Finger

Expected return date: Unknown

Armando Broja

Chelsea are set to be without Broja for sometime after the striker suffered a knee injury in a mid-season friendly against Aston Villa. The 20-year-old screamed in pain following a collision with Ezri Konsa and he was subsequently stretchered off the field of play.

He looked to be in considerable pain and was seen to be clutching his leg as he was tended to by medical staff. The Albania international had no history of knee injuries and his injury is a major blow with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang out of form.

Broja is expected to be out for at least the remainder of the season after learning that he needs surgery to fix a ruptured cruciate ligament in his right knee, football.london understands. He could be out of action for a minimum of five months and a maximum of 12.

What Potter said: ”It was just an unfortunate action. He got caught up with their player and the ground. It doesn’t look positive at the moment but it’s too early to say. Fingers crossed but it is an awkward one.”

Injury: Knee

Expected return date: Summer/Autumn 2023

 

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Full Chelsea squad revealed for Fulham clash amid Enzo Fernandez wait and Reece James return

Two weeks off for Chelsea comes to an end as they face west London rivals Fulham at Stamford Bridge in the hope of sparking further optimism at SW6. Having drawn to Liverpool at Anfield last time out, the Blues have secured three new signings since they last played.

Noni Madueke has had plenty of time on the training pitch to meet his new teammates after he was officially announced while Malo Gusto also signed but won’t be available. The Frenchman is back out on loan at Lyon for the rest of the season – but the Premier League’s most expensive player ever could make his debut.

Enzo Fernandez was the big deadline day story to follow and his remarkable saga came to a conclusion on Tuesday night when a £106.8million deal was agreed. It’s not yet certain whether he will be involved against Marco Silva’s men though.

Speaking ahead of the game Graham Potter said: “We’ll see. We’ve got to go through the paperwork and he needs to get clearance and all that. I’ve spoken to him.”

With Jorginho leaving to join Arsenal on deadline day too it was one-in-one-out in the midfield and therefore the Blues would benefit greatly if their Argentine superstar is available. Elsewhere, Madueke and Mykhailo Mudryk could make their first starts for the club.

Here’s the full squad available.

Goalkeepers: Kepa Arrizabalaga, Edouard Mendy, Marcus Bettinelli, Gabriel Slonina

Defenders: Trevoh Chalobah, Reece James, Thiago Silva, Benoit Badiashile, Cesar Azpilicueta, Marc Cucurella, Kalidou Koulibaly, Lewis Hall, Ben Chilwell

Midfielders: Mason Mount, Conor Gallagher, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Enzo Fernandez, Carney Chukwuemeka

Attackers: Kai Havertz, Hakim Ziyech, Noni Madueke, Mykhailo Mudryk, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, David Datro Fofana, Omari Hutchinson.

 

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Enzo Fernandez starts, Kante dilemma: Best Chelsea XI after dream £323m January transfer window

Chelsea enjoyed a hectic end to the January transfer window after signing Enzo Fernandez in the eleventh hour on deadline day. The 22-year-old’s arrival saw the Blues’ total spend for the month amount to an eye-watering £323million.

After penning an eight-and-a-half-year deal at Stamford Bridge, Fernandez has followed Mykhailo Mudryk, Joao Felix, Noni Madueke, David Datro and Andrey Santos to Cobham, while Malo Gusto arrives in the summer. With so many new players at Graham Potter’s disposal, he must now pick the west Londoners’ best starting lineup.

But, the Chelsea boss has been left with more questions than answers as he looks to integrate new cultures, play styles and personalities into one changing room. There have been plenty of promising early signs thus far as Benoit Badiashile and Thiago Silva forge a good relationship.

So, with that being said, football.london has taken a look at Potter’s best starting lineup as Chelsea head into the second half of the season looking for Champions League qualification

Formation

A 4-2-3-1 allows Potter to field as many of the Blues’ exciting forward players as possible, within reason, while also operating a strong defensive structure. It’s likely that the Chelsea boss will prefer a 4-3-3 or a 3-4-2-1 until the end of the season though.

Goalkeeper

Kepa Arrizabalaga remains to be the west Londoners’ strongest option between the sticks for now. But, if Edouard Mendy can impress when given the opportunity, the Senegalese star will be back in the starting lineup.

A wildcard option for Chelsea would be Gabriel Slonina. The 18-year-old joined the first-team squad in the winter and, while he’s relatively inexperienced, the shot-stopper has an outside chance of leapfrogging his competitors.

Defence

Luckily for Potter, the back four picks itself which can only be a good sign. Badiashile and Silva appear to have found the makings of a great centre-back partnership.

At full-back are Ben Chilwell and Reece James. Marc Cucurella is a very good backup option to have at left-back but, once the former returns to full fitness, the Englishman will surely return to the starting lineup.

Chelsea's best XI in a 4-2-3-1 after transfer deadline day if Todd Boehly can sign Enzo Fernandez

Midfield

A World Cup-winning midfield pivot of N’Golo Kante and Enzo Fernandez will be a sight to behold once the Frenchman returns from injury. Kante is yet to play under Potter after picking up a hamstring injury against Tottenham in August.

He’s been on the sidelines ever since as he continues to recover. In the meantime, Chelsea will have to operate a three-man midfield to make up for the 31-year-old’s famous work rate.

Attack

A front-four of Mudryk, Felix, Madueke and Kai Havertz will be a force to be reckoned with, not to mention the additions of Hakim Ziyech and Mason Mount off the bench. But, Chelsea have an issue in the striker department.

Havertz isn’t a natural talisman, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is out of form and Fofana has recently joined. The latter of the trio could surprise many when given a run of games.

 

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James, Chilwell, Sterling – Chelsea injury news and expected return dates ahead of Fulham clash

Chelsea have suffered a plethora of injuries to key players in recent times.

The likes of Raheem Sterling, Wesley Fofana, Trevoh Chalobah, Reece James, Ben Chilwell and Ruben Loftus-Cheek have all been sidelined at various times this season, although Graham Potter’s side have been boosted by Chilwell, James, Sterling and Fofana all returning to training.

The Blues have also brought in several new players to the squad during the January transfer window, bringing in talented Ukrainian winger Mykhailo Mudryk and Portuguese attacker Joao Felixamongst others. The west London outfit are next in action when they face Fulham on February 3 at Stamford Bridge and football.london takes you through all the Blues injury news and updates ahead of that Premier League fixture.

Trevoh Chalobah

Chalobah was forced off after going down off-the-ball against Liverpool and it has since been confirmed that he was merely suffering from cramp. He received treatment from the club physio and was replaced by Cesar Azpilicueta in the final 10 minutes of action.

What Potter said: “I don’t know to be honest. I’ve had to come out and speak to you guys.”

Injury: Cramp

Expected return date: Fulham – February 3

Reece James

James suffered a knee injury in Chelsea’s 2-0 win over AC Milan last year following a collision with Theo Hernandez. Then, upon his return after the World Cup, he pulled up against Bournemouth triggering another injury.

The 23-year-old returned to the pitches at Cobham ahead of the defeat to Fulham, but he was still training alone. Then, ahead of the tie with Liverpool, he first began to feature in first-team training again.

Still, Chelsea are hopeful of James featuring in some capacity for their next Premier League fixture against Fulham on February 3.

What Potter said: “The boys are progressing well. Reece [James] has joined team training but won’t be involved at the weekend [against Liverpool].”

Injury: Knee

Expected return date: Fulham – February 3

Ben Chilwell

Over the last few days, Chilwell has also been pictured back in first-team training again. The defender has missed large parts of the season so he’ll be keen to return to match fitness and help Chelsea’s chances of claiming a place in the top four.

Chelsea are also hopeful of Chilwell featuring against Fulham too.

What Potter said: “The boys are progressing well. Reece [James] has joined team training but won’t be involved at the weekend. Same for Ben Chilwell.”

Injury: Thigh

Expected return date: Fulham – February 3

N’Golo Kante

Kante has suffered an injury-ridden campaign this far but the midfielder has finally returned to the pitches at Cobham, albeit training alone. The Frenchman is getting closer to full fitness but, until he joins the first-team group, a debut under Potter is left to be desired.

What Potter said: “N’Golo did his first couple of days out training on his own but there is still a long, long way to go.”

Injury: Hamstring

Expected return date: Early March

Wesley Fofana

Having missed most of the season so far, former Leicester man Wesley Fofana’s influence at the back has been somewhat felt in his absence. However, in a huge boost to the Blues and the defender himself, it appears as though a return is just around the corner, having been pictured in training again.

According to the Evening Standard, Fofana is hoping to make his return within the next fortnight. The French defender has now been spotted taking part in first team training, but may not be available for selection against Fulham

Injury: Knee

Expected return date: West Ham (A) – February 11

Denis Zakaria

The Chelsea loanee has impressed in recent weeks, forcing his way into the first-team after a slow start to his career at Stamford Bridge. However, in a huge blow to the side, he was forced off after 56 minutes in the defeat to Fulham and has handed a major blow to Potter’s midfield options.

What Potter said: “Denis is going to be probably four weeks. It’s the top of his quad and that is a blow for us. Hopefully, he can return sooner.”

Injury: Thigh

Expected return date: February

Christian Pulisic

Pulisic was subbed off with an injury in the Premier League defeat to Manchester City, coming off worse in a tackle by John Stones. The United States international was visibly distressed as he went down twice following the challenge.

He was eventually replaced by Carney Chukwuemeka and also was absent from the matchday squad for the FA Cup clash against City. He is set for another lengthy spell on the sidelines.

What Potter said: “No chance, no, he will be out past that [January transfer deadline] and there was never any consideration about him leaving anyway. He is a couple of months out.

“He is disappointed but he is optimistic about coming back quicker than two months. He is in that phase where he is keeping his fingers crossed and hoping his rehab goes well.”

Injury: Knee

Expected return date: March

Raheem Sterling

Sterling was replaced by Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang inside the opening couple of minutes in the same fixture Chelsea lost Pulisic. The 28-year-old winger fell to the floor with a grimace on his face following a collision with John Stones.

However, Sterling is now expected to step up his recovery from his hamstring injury in the coming days, football.london understands and it is hope

d that he can return to team training by the start of next week. The England international has now returned to the grass and will take part in light individual training with a view to return to Potter’s squad in the coming weeks, the club confirmed on Thursday.

What Potter said: “Raheem less [than Pulisic] but we’re still evaluating the extent of it. Hopefully less than that, though.”

Injury: Hamstring

Expected return date: West Ham (A) – February 11

Edouard Mendy

Chelsea confirmed that Mendy had undergone an operation on a fractured finger sustained during training, meaning he will be absent from the squad in the coming games.

The Senegalese shot-stopper missed the Bournemouth match and didn’t even make the bench against Forest. He had previously come back from international duty in October with an injury but played for his club since then despite being replaced as No.1 by Kepa Arrizabalaga.

Injury: Finger

Expected return date: Unknown

Armando Broja

Having pulled up nastily in the side’s mid-season friendly against Aston Villa, Armando Broja could be heard reeling in pain as his knee injury more than definitely curtailed his 22/23 season. Having made quite the impression under Potter, it was a sad blow for the former Southampton loanee.

What Potter said: ”It was just an unfortunate action. He got caught up with their player and the ground. It doesn’t look positive at the moment but it’s too early to say. Fingers crossed but it is an awkward one.”

Injury: Knee

Expected return date: Summer/Autumn 2023

 

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Gvardiol joins, Nkunku starts, Ziyech U-turn: Graham Potter’s dream Chelsea XI after £223m spend

The January transfer window is expected to bring lots of business across the board and Chelsea are one of the sides that will be the most active. Not only is Graham Potter looking to salvage his side’s season with so much left to play for there is also the small task of overhauling the squad.

Todd Boehly stamped his authority as co-owner last summer but now there will be key signs of development in everything the Blues do with efficient long-term planning just as important as beating Bournemouth on December 27 when football returns for Premier League sides.

Potter is looking to shape the squad but also mend it. The Blues have gaps across the field with rightback, central defence, central midfield and centre forward all looking bare and only set to worsen. To sort this out in January alone is impossible, but by the end of next summer the aim is to truly start moving forward.

Although this is too long for many and judgements on Potter have been made already, the end of the season is a better scale but still far too small to decipher his value in the wider scheme and the ‘project’, Chelsea will be in position to lose players not in the plans, develop younger players through the club and implement new signings as well.

With this in mind, here’s how Potter could have his side looking in the not too distant future.

Potter’s new No. 1 appears firmly above Edouard Mendy after his resurrection into the side before the domestic break. Although there are plans for a new shot-stopper to come in, given the attention needed elsewhere this could be kicked down the street a little bit longer. If either of them come into form then short-term worries can be eluded.

Reece James

Maybe the easiest pick of them all. The 23-year-old is a major miss when he’s out and balances the side from full-back. He’s in at right-back in a 4-3-3.

Wesley Fofana

Having been in and out of the side since joining, Fofana is one of the ‘like a new signing’ players that Potter will have in the New Year. With the age of Cesar Azpilicueta and Thiago Silva, getting the 22-year-old minutes and experience will be key to the defence moving forward.

Josko Gvardiol

The first new signing in this team, Gvardiol slots in at centre-back next to Fofana on the left. As a left footed, athletic and progressive defender he looks suited to the Premier League, Chelsea fans just need to hope Manchester City don’t get him first.

Ben Chilwell

Another major miss as the equilibrium of the squad gets thrown off, Chilwell is a big blow for Potter right now. When he’s back he’ll be straight into the action on the left of the defence.

Declan Rice

Perhaps the most important player in the side, if he joins. Rice offers a midfield shield to whoever he plays for and has been a long-term target for Chelsea. If Potter can get his hands on the West Ham captain over the summer for less than £75million, then Chelsea are in business.

Mason Mount

Rice’s best friend and England teammate, Mount slots back into his favoured midfield role as an orthodox No. 8. Although form has been down this season, Mount offers so much off the ball and can do a role between midfield and attack that very few can for the Blues.

Mateo Kovacic

This could easily have been Jude Bellingham, but we’ll limit the dream scenario a little bit, especially considering Rice is in there.

Kovacic, if fit, is one of the best players in a midfield three and can dictate matches, drive forward and evade spaces others simply can’t. Potter will be keen to get the most out of the Croatian in a well balanced midfield that perhaps only lacks goals.

Christopher Nkunku

To make up for the lack of goals, Nkunku has been purchased. He’s now all but signed for the Blues but won’t be playing until next season, with the agreement for June 2023.

With versatility across the frontline, Nkunku can float about and be a creative spark from either side of the attack or in behind. We’ve got him on the left, for now.

Hakim Ziyech

Coming in on the right in his favoured spot is a surprise. Ziyech may well be on the way out of Stamford Bridge but if Potter can harness any of the World Cup magic and dynamism that Morocco got out of him then Chelsea could be set for some entertaining times.

David Fofana

This is risky, especially given the Molde man is just 19 and will take time to adapt. But in a slightly futuristic Chelsea side, their expected £10million Ivorian striker is leading the line here. As a well balanced forward he can offer a focal point but also finishes on either foot.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang misses out due to his age, Kai Havertz doesn’t have a defined role and Christian Pulisic frankly had a worse World Cup than Ziyech, that’s about it. Armando Broja is a shoe in but his injury offers a more immediate chance for David Fofana in this side.

Chelsea dream XI (4-3-3): Kepa; James, W. Fofana, Gvardiol, Chilwell; Rice, Mount, Kovacic; Nkunku, D. Fofana, Ziyech

 

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Full Chelsea 25-man squad for Abu Dhabi training camp confirmed amid N’Golo Kante decision

The full Chelsea squad set to travel to Abu Dhabi for a warm weather training camp has been confirmed. N’Golo Kante has travelled with the Chelsea squad despite not being expected to be back for three months.

The French midfielder is set to continue his recovery with the rest of the group throughout the World Cup break. Kante hasn’t featured for the Blues since sustaining a hamstring injury against Tottenham back in August.

The full 25-man travelling squad is as follows: Kepa, Bettinelli, Beach; Humphreys, Gilchrist, Chalobah, Rankine, Brooking, Chilwell, James, Cucurella, Fofana, Hall; Casadei, Webster, Elliot, Jorginho, Kante, Loftus-Cheek, Chukwuemeka; Hutchinson, Mothersille, Burstow, Aubameyang, Broja.

The Blues are set to return to the scene where they won the FIFA Club World Cup earlier this year. Chelsea will take on Premier League rivals Aston Villa in the CBF | Al Wahda Challenge Cup before returning to London later this month.

Reece James, Ben Chilwell and Wesley Fofana will join Kante in continuing their recovery with the squad in the Middle East. Summer signing Cesare Casadei, who has impressed for the Blues under-21s since completing a £12million switch from Inter, has also been included in the squad.

Kalidou Koulibaly and Edouard Mendy are the latest Chelsea players to exit the World Cup after Senegal were beaten 3-0 by England in the round of 16. The Blues will resume their Premier League campaign against Bournemouth at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday, December 27.

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‘Great optimism’ – Journalist shares ‘positive’ in-house Chelsea talks after ‘significant’ news

The Athletic‘s Chelsea correspondent Simon Johnson has shared an exciting update on midfielder Mason Mount’s contract talks.

The England international, who has been selected for Gareth Southgate’s World Cup squad, has been at the centre of speculation linking him with fresh terms.

However, unlike fellow academy graduate Reece James, who put pen to paper on a new deal soon after rumours over his own future abounded, Mount’s proposed fresh contract has taken a fair bit longer.

The 23-year-old’s current deal is set to expire in 2024, with still no extension confirmed as of yet, but Johnson has shared some good news in this regard.

The Latest: Chelsea making a breakthrough?

The Premier League giants have apparently made a breakthrough in talks with the midfielder.

Taking to Twitter in sharing a corresponding article from The Athletic, Johnson has shared an update on Mount’s new contract.

He tweeted: “Update on Mason Mount’s contract talks at #CFC…positive talks were held recently & there is now great optimism a deal will be agreed when the next round of negotiations, scheduled for January, resume.”

Following on, the journalist states that a ‘significant development’ took place in the last meeting held before Mount left for the World Cup with England.

The Three Lions ace is a key player for Chelsea manager Graham Potter, ranking in the Blues’ top four players in terms of shots at goal and key passes made per 90 in the top flight (WhoScored).

With Mount still very young at 23 and able to improve even further, the Blues and owner Todd Boehly certainly won’t want to risk the notion of needing to sell him before his deal expires in two years’ time.

Indeed, sealing a new deal for Mount should be among the club’s top priorities.

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Chelsea will not consider selling £78k-a-week attacker

Armando Broja has been linked with a move away from Chelsea in recent months, but the Blues are not keen on losing him just yet.

According to a report from Give Me Sport, Armando Broja is highly rated at Chelsea. And Graham Potter is not keen on sanctioning his departure from Stamford Bridge anytime soon.

The talented young striker returned to Chelsea after a successful loan spell with Southampton and was expected to cement his place in the starting lineup. However, the Blues signed Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang from Barcelona on deadline day in the summer, and Broja has seen his game time cut short.

The young striker has started just once in the Premier League this season and has been linked with a January exit, with Atletico Madrid among the interested clubs.

As per the rumours, the 21-year-old could be loaned out during the January transfer window in order to gain regular first-team football experience.

However, Simon Phillips has ruled out any potential departure. The journalist explained to Give Me Sport that Graham Potter trusts the young striker and believes that Broja could develop into a key player for Chelsea.

Phillips said, “I don’t think a loan move will happen, and I also don’t expect a permanent move to happen because Chelsea now hold all of the power there. If any clubs enquire, I think they would price him out of a move because they rate him highly at the club.”

They want him to stay. Potter trusts him, not enough to start him regularly yet, but he trusts him to come on and make an impact and make a difference.”

Furthermore, Chelsea are lacking in depth in the attacking department. Apart from Aubameyang and Broja, Potter does not have any natural striker at his disposal. So letting the youngster leave could prove to be a costly mistake for Chelsea.

If Aubameyang picks up an injury, they would have no one to lead the line. Furthermore, the former Arsenal captain has not been at this best this season and is not going to get any better at this age.

Broja is a prodigious talent with a big future ahead of him. It remains to be seen whether Potter is willing to trust him with more game time during the second half of the season. The young striker recently signed a £78k-a-week long-term contract Chelsea, and the Blues are under no pressure to cash in on him yet.

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Reece James injury update as Chelsea star learns return date amid England World Cup dilemma

Reece James has been handed fresh hope of making the England squad ahead of the World Cup in Qatar. The 22-year-old defender suffered a knee injury in Chelsea’s 2-0 win over AC Milan last month following a collision with Theo Hernandez.

He was set to be out of action for eight weeks and a call-up from Gareth Southgate looked unlikely. After being flown out to Dubai to step up his rehabilitation, James has been recovering ahead of schedule.

It’s said that the Cobham graduate has been working in the gym and the pool as the Blues send the FA frequent reports regarding the right-back’s fitness and knee stability. And, according to The Sun, James has been told he could be fit in three weeks.

If the report is to be believed then the Chelsea star will miss all three of the Three Lions’ group stage fixtures. England are set to face Iran on November 21, the United States on November 25 and Wales on November 29.

With the Chelsea star in a race against time, Southgate has been handed a huge dilemma as to whether he risks handing James a place in the 26-man squad. Fellow right-back Kyle Walker is also racing to secure a place in the squad having recently returned from injury.

Speaking on a YouTube video, James admitted that a surgeon told him that he could be out for two months. He said: “Last week I went in for a tackle against AC Milan when I got injured.

“I didn’t think it was too bad after the game, I stayed an extra day in Milan and thought maybe it was just a little niggle. I think a day or two later I saw a surgeon. He told me that I was going to be out for around two months.”

James has started in each of England’s previous four UEFA Nations League fixtures, featuring in both a back-five and back-four. It can be said that the Chelsea star is trusted by Southgate and his versatility could prove pivotal when deciding whether to gamble on his availability.

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Chelsea set to be without 5 injured players for Arsenal clash

Graham Potter gave an injury update on Ben Chilwell, Kepa Arrizabalaga, and Denis Zakaria ahead of Chelsea’s clash with Arsenal on Sunday.

Despite having already topped their Champions League group, Chelsea opted to name a relatively strong side against Dinamo Zagreb on Wednesday.

That ended up having consequences, as Ben Chilwell and Denis Zakaria seemingly went off with injuries. After the game, Chelsea boss Graham Potter revealed that it was likely bad news for Chilwell, but not for Zakaria.

“Obviously, when [Chilwell] pulls up like that it’s a concern,” Potter admitted. “Obviously, we need to scan it but it’s not positive at the moment.

“To see him pull up like that, it’s not a great sight. So fingers crossed when we get it scanned it isn’t too bad. It can be not as severe but we have to cross our fingers at the moment.

“[Zakaria] just got a kick. Just the contact. He was fine. No problems with him.”

The other piece of injury news related to one of Wednesday’s absentees, Kepa Arrizabalaga. Potter ruled the goalkeeper out of the Arsenal clash on Sunday, but he played down fears raised by the sight of the Spaniard on crutches.

“He won’t be okay for Sunday,” Potter confirmed. “It’s only precautionary in terms of keeping the weight off it, the bottom of his foot. He is progressing well.”

Chelsea have a few other players out at the moment, with Wesley Fofana, Reece James, and N’Golo Kante all set to miss the Arsenal clash.

However, Mateo Kovacic should be available again, as he was only absent against Dinamo Zagreb as a precaution.

In summary, it looks like Chilwell, Kepa, Fofana, James, and Kante will all miss the Arsenal match. Kovacic should be available to start, whilst Zakaria is also likely to be fit for the squad, but may not start given Wednesday was only his debut for Chelsea.