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Report: Huge Chelsea injury boost with ‘outstanding’ £75m star set to return for West Ham

Chelsea have reportedly been handed a huge injury boost ahead of their clash with West Ham United on Saturday.

Chelsea boss Graham Potter already welcomed Reece James, Ben Chilwell and Raheem Sterling back to action on Friday.

And now there could be some even better news on the horizon for the Blues.

West Ham beat Chelsea 3-2 at the London Stadium last season, and we are in desperate need of similar result this time around.

David Moyes has a terrible record against the ‘so-called’ big six though, and despite Chelsea’s struggles, we will undoubtedly be in for a tough game on Saturday…

Chelsea handed huge injury boost ahead of West Ham clash

Now is probably a bad time to come head-to-head with Chelsea in the Premier League.

The likes of Sterling returning to action is bad news enough – has eight goals and eight assists in 19 games against the Hammers (Transfermarkt)!

And having James and Chilwell back will be absolutely huge for the west London outfit too.

But now Chelsea might have another key player back in time for the West Ham clash as well – Wesley Fofana. That’s according to Football.London who claim that the 22-year-old centre-back’s expected return date is this coming Saturday.

Fofana joined Chelsea from Leicester City in the summer of 2022 for around £75 million (Sky Sports). However, he hasn’t played a game for the Blues since October 5th after suffering a knee injury.

The young Frenchman is a key player for the Blues, and has been described as ‘outstanding’ by The Telegraph.

West Ham desperately need a positive result against Chelsea on Saturday – a win ideally. However, it seems as though we could be in for a really tough afternoon with Potter welcoming so many key players back from injury.

Wesley Fofana returning to action will be a major boost for Chelsea and a big blow for West Ham. Having said that, considering the fact that he has spent four months on the sidelines, it is unlikely that he will be thrown straight back into action.

We will have to wait and see.

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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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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.

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Koulibaly, James, Fofana – Chelsea injury round-up and expected return dates

Chelsea secured their place in the knockout stages of the Champions League in midweek with a game to spare following their 2-1 defeat of RB Salzburg on Tuesday.

But the Blues remained without four of their first team players for that clash in Austria, three of which are defenders, and now manager Graham Potter will be hoping to see no further casualties added to that list ahead of his return to Brighton this weekend.

Here is all you need to know about the current state of play at Stamford Bridge and the expected return dates for those out on the sidelines.

Kalidou Koulibaly

Kalidou Koulibaly remains a doubt ahead of Saturday's trip to Brighton

Chelsea defender Kalidou Koulibaly has had a mixed start to life in west London since his big money move from Napoli in the summer and he could be set to miss out on another game for the Blues as he struggles with a knee injury.

The 31-year-old played the full 90 minutes of last week’s 0-0 draw with Brentford but sustained the knee issue following the game and has since missed Chelsea’s last two fixtures. It is hoped he will return to training this week, although he remains a doubt for the trip to Brighton on Saturday.

Speaking on Monday, Potter said: “It’s not too serious. This game was too soon for him. We’re hoping to get him on the grass Wednesday or Thursday, but he’s obviously not available for tomorrow night.”

Reece James

Reece James is also sidelined with a knee injury and is continuing his recovery as he aims to work his way back to full fitness in time for the World Cup next month.

The England international suffered the injury during the 2-0 victory over AC Milan on October 11, with the right back missing Chelsea’s last four fixtures as a result, and will not feature again for the Blues until December.

Speaking on October 21, Potter said: “He’ll be in a brace for four weeks to stabilise the knee, then it’s rehab that will take eight weeks, we think.”

Wesley Fofana

Wesley Fofana is unlikely to return before the World Cup

Wesley Fofana is the third Chelsea defender who is sidelined with injury and, like James, is also expected to remain out until after the World Cup as he continues his recovery from a knee issue which he picked up in the 3-0 victory over AC Milan on October 5.

The centre back was forced off before the end of the first half during that game and has since missed Chelsea’s last six fixtures. Although Potter initially believed there may be an outside chance that Fofana could return before the World Cup, the chances of that happening are now highly unlikely.

Speaking on October 14, Potter said: “He’s progressing where he was. I don’t think we will see him before the World Cup in terms of playing for Chelsea.”

N’Golo Kante

Blues midfielder N’Golo Kante will not feature again until 2023 after it was revealed that he will be sidelined for another four months after undergoing successful surgery on his hamstring injury.

The Frenchman returned to first team training at the start of October following his lengthy lay-off from the initial injury he sustained back in August, but picked up a fresh problem earlier this month and has been forced out of action until at least February.

On October 18, an official club statement read: “N’Golo Kante has undergone an operation on his hamstring injury. Following a successful operation, N’Golo is now expected to be sidelined for four months.”

 

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“The reassuring thing is…” – Journalist drops Wesley Fofana injury claim on Thursday morning

Chelsea star Wesley Fofana is unlikely to have suffered a serious injury against AC Milan despite leaving Stamford Bridge on crutches, according to journalist Simon Phillips.

The Frenchman celebrated his first goal for the Blues in the win over the Italian champions, but his night ended sourly after he limped off with a knee injury later in the first half.

What happened to Fofana?

Fofana has endured a mixed start to life at Stamford Bridge following his summer move, but there looked to finally be some light at the end of the tunnel when he slid Chelsea into a 24th minute lead.

Less than 15 minutes later, though, the youngster’s night was over after he was forced off having been caught by Milan star Rafael Leao.

Graham Potter was quizzed on his situation after the game and admitted that he’s concerned about Fofana’s condition.

“We need to scan it, and fingers crossed,” he admitted. “I wouldn’t want to speculate on it now. But we’re concerned and we just need to wait and get it scanned and hope for the best.”

Regardless, Phillips is optimistic about the problem not being a serious one after the ex-Leicester man not only kept on playing for a couple of minutes, but also managed to leave the pitch without any support.

What did Phillips say about Fofana?

He told GIVEMESPORT: “He will need further assessments. The reassuring thing is that he continued to play on it for two minutes and also walked off unaided.

Yes, he left on crutches, but to me that looks more of a precaution than anything major like an ACL.”

Who could replace Fofana against Wolves?

Unless Potter decides to ditch three at the back and start with a back four, he has three real options ahead of Wolves’ visit to Stamford Bridge.

He either starts, Trevor Chalobah, the man who replaced Fofana against Milan, and has probably earned himself a starting place, or hand Cesar Azpilicueta his first Premier League start since the defeat at Southampton back in August.

There’s also the possibility Potter opts to move Marc Cucurella into a left centre-back role and the likes of Kalidou Koulibaly and Thiago Silva shuffle across the back three.

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Huge boost for Chelsea as report claims major new signing is available to face West Ham

Wesley Fofana will be reportedly available for selection for Chelsea on Saturday against West Ham United.

Chelsea play host to West Ham at Stamford Bridge tomorrow afternoon, with both teams having made inauspicious starts to their respective Premier League campaigns.

The Hammers have taken just four points from our opening five games, although they have all come in our last two outings.

Meanwhile, Chelsea have lost two and drawn one of their opening five outings.

Both David Moyes and Thomas Tuchel have overseen huge overhauls in their respective squads this summer. So maybe it will just take time for the new players to gel with one another.

Chelsea handed big boost ahead of West Ham clash

The Blues signed Wesley Fofana for around £80 million on August 31st (Football.London).

And with their game against West Ham coming so quickly after that, there were doubts that the centre-back would be available for selection.

It seems as though Fofana has every chance of playing through, according to a report from Football.London.

That really is a big boost for Chelsea and Tuchel.

West Ham have our work cut out if we are to beat the Blues tomorrow. We have won three of our last six games against Chelsea though, so the players should be heading into the game full of confidence, especially after their impressive performance against Tottenham on Wednesday night.

Avoiding defeat will be key for the Hammers, as we look to get our season back on track.

Chelsea will be desperate to beat West Ham though, and with Wesley Fofana available, Tuchel has a wealth of world-class options to choose from.

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Agent confirms one Chelsea transfer is ‘close’ as £75m target Fofana is ruled out of Leicester match

The agent of Dinamo Moscow youngster Arsen Zakharyan has claimed that Chelsea are close to sealing a deal for his client.

Chelsea have already signed a number of players this summer Marc Cucurella, Raheem Sterling, Kalidou Koulibaly, Carney Chukwuemeka, Cesare Casadei and Gabriel Slonina all leaving.

However, there business is still not done as they look to sign at least a centre-back and a striker before the end of the transfer window, while they are also in the market for young players with potential.

Zakharyan had a breakthrough season for Dinamo in the 2021-22 campaign with the 19-year-old scoring nine goals in 34 appearances from midfield.

With future stars Chukwuemeka and Casadei signing for Chelsea this summer, Todd Boehly and his transfer team are looking to bring in Zakharyan as another hot prospect.

And Zakharyan’s agent Pavel Andreev confirmed to RB Sport that a deal to join Chelsea is close, he said: “It’s true. The agreement is close”.

The Blues lost Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen to La Liga on free transfers this summer, while Romelu Lukaku and Timo Werner also departed.

A centre-back is right at the top of their priority list with Chelsea chasing a deal for Leicester City defender Wesley Fofana for a few weeks now.

The Blues recently had a £70m offer for Fofana turned down by the Foxes with Leicester looking for a deal that is less reliant on add-ons.

And transfer expert Fabrizio Romano insists that Chelsea are preparing a ‘new bid’ for Fofana of £75m with the fresh offer ‘discussed internally since Tuesday’.

The Frenchman ‘won’t be part of Leicester squad’ which travels to Chelsea for their fixture tomorrow against Thomas Tuchel’s men.

Romano adds that if Fofana leaves, then Chelsea defender Trevoh Chalobah ‘will be allowed to leave on loan’ with Leipzig, Inter Milan and AC Milan all interested.

And now former Premier League defender Matthew Upson is interested to see how much of the Fofana money will be reinvested into the first team at Leicester, if the Foxes decide to sell.

“I think Leicester are in a position where they are a bit of a selling club,” Upson told Sky Sports.

“In the past, you look at how the club has operated, with Fofana, maybe they would have said he’s not for sale and they’d hang on to those sort of players.

“Something is not quite right with the investment into the club, or how it has been.  They’ve invested heavily into the infrastructure of the club and they have built brilliant foundations for Leicester City Football Club.

“But right at this moment in time, he (Fofana) is a player in high demand, he is a high value player. What will be interesting with Leicester is whether or not they move these players on and how much of that is reinvested into the squad.

“That’s the key point with all of these transactions and whether or not you want to keep a player there that has had his head turned.”

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‘It’s his dream’: Player has now become ‘obsessed’ with the idea of joining Chelsea this summer – Romano

Fabrizio Romano has claimed that Wesley Fofana has become obsessed with the idea of joining Chelsea.

The 21-year-old has emerged as the top target for the club in terms of defensive reinforcements, with the window closing in just over a week’s time.

The Blues have been openly interested in striking a deal, having as many as three bids rejected so far by Leicester City.

It had been claimed by one publication that this would be the end of Chelsea’s interest in a deal, with them saying that Thomas Tuchel is keen on moving on to other targets.

However, Romano has suggested that the deal for the Frenchman is not off the table, with the player’s desire for the move keeping the Blues in the hunt.

Fofana obsessed with Chelsea

He said: “It’s not over yet for Wesley Fofana to Chelsea. Wesley’s pushing to join Chelsea, it’s his dream and ‘obsession’ so negotiations are expected to continue after £70m bid turned down.

“Talks are still ongoing with intermediaries in order to find the best solution soon.”

After missing out on Jules Kounde and Matthijs de Ligt earlier in the window, the Blues will be keen to not be priced out of a deal if possible purely in terms of reputation.

In their first window at the club, the new owners would surely be keen to not have their reputation affected again and have them perceived as naive or incapable.

Signing Fofana would also be beneficial for the club to be able to utilise Reece James better, with the Englishman currently needing to feature at centre back.in order for the defence to be as solid as possible.

This obviously takes away from his attacking potential, with any supporters being given a reminder of just what he can do with his goal against Tottenham.

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Wesley Fofana to Chelsea: Leicester U-turn, Harry Maguire message, £20m back-up option

Chelsea’s pursuit of Leicester City centre-back Wesley Fofana is entering its crucial stages with just nine days remaining of the summer transfer window. The player is seemingly trying to push through the move from his end but big money will need to change hands for the Blues to get their man before September 1.

Chelsea’s hunt for defensive reinforcements isn’t as desperate as it was several weeks ago thanks to the arrivals of Kalidou Koulibaly and Marc Cucurella. But manager Thomas Tuchel would still be keen for another body at the back and Fofana is of the calibre to make an instant impact, despite his young age.

Two bids have supposedly been knocked back by Leicester in an attempt to shoo Chelsea away. But, led by new co-owner Todd Boehly, the west London outfit have been reluctant to give in and are expected to have one final crack at convincing the Foxes to do business.

With so much to unpack in one of the summer’s defining sagas, Express Sport takes you through three of the most important storylines surrounding the deal…

Despite Chelsea’s persistence, it is not a case of Fofana or bust as Tuchel and Boehly have supposedly drawn up a list of alternative options should the move fall through. Brighton centre-back Adam Webster is among them, according to The Daily Mail, having impressed since his £20m move from Bristol City in 2019.

Whether the Seagulls would sell yet another key player this summer remains to be seen, with Marc Cucurella already bedding in at Stamford Bridge after leaving the Amex. Webster is a physical presence at 6ft 3in tall but is also adept at carrying the ball out from the back and breaking the lines.

Leicester U-turn

When quizzed on the prospect of Fofana leaving a couple of weeks ago, Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers was firmly opposed to the idea. And who could blame him? James Maddison and Youri Tielemans are also linked elsewhere and the Foxes are yet to bring in any new faces of their own.

But according to CBS Sports, Leicester have now changed their tune. Talks between Rodgers and Fofana have failed to bear fruit and there is supposedly a feeling that Chelsea could land the star for less than the current £80million world-record fee for a defender, set by Harry Maguire in 2019.

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“Now more open” – Transfer insider says ‘good news’ for Chelsea as they open ‘direct talks’

Chelsea are involved in a few transfer battles to sign players before the end of the summer transfer window later this month.

The one major transfer saga that Chelsea have been involved with is dragging on, but it might finally be reaching a breakthrough now.

The Blues want to sign another centre-back, and it is Leicester City’s Wesley Fofana who they are pushing to sign, and only him as well by the looks of it, at least in the centre back area anyway.

But this one has dragged and dragged and have had many doubting whether it can get done or not. Transfer insider Ben Jacobs, who has good connections at Chelsea and Leicester, has some ‘good news’ for Chelsea fans wanting Fofana.

He says that Leicester are now ‘more open’ to selling Fofana than before, and Chelsea have now entered ‘direct talks’ with the club in order to push this over the line now.

Jacobs told GIVEMESPORTS: “Leicester are now more open to a sale than they were when Chelsea first started bidding.

“The good news, from Chelsea’s perspective, is that there are direct talks taking place between them and Leicester.

“Brendan Rodgers has softened his language from ‘not for sale’ to ‘not wanting to sell’ and there’s a key difference between those two stances.”