Chelsea investigating transfer possibilities after injury blows amid Lyon talks over Emerson Palmieri return

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·3-min read
Chelsea investigating transfer possibilities after injury blows amid Lyon talks over Emerson Palmieri return
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  • Thomas Tuchel
    German association football manager and former player
  • Emerson Palmieri dos Santos
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  • Ben Chilwell
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Chelsea are drawing up January transfer plans, with Thomas Tuchel concerned about their ability to cope without Ben Chilwell for the rest of the season.

Recalling Emerson Palmieri from his loan at Lyon remains the priority, but the German is also considering alternative options during this window.

Everton’s Lucas Digne is another player on his radar, but Newcastle and Aston Villa are also interested in the left-back, who has asked to leave Goodison Park.

Tuchel also has concerns about how to fill the void left by Reece James, who is out with a hamstring injury, but the left side of defence is seen as the area in most need of immediate address due to Chilwell’s anterior cruciate ligament damage.

Chelsea are currently in talks with Lyon over the possibility of bringing Emerson back, with Tuchel preferring to work with someone he knows will settle in quickly and is proven in the Premier League.

The Chelsea manager said: “Of course we know him and we appreciate him as a player and a person. He had such a huge influence, although he didn’t have a lot of minutes last season.

“He is a top guy, a top professional and he is still a Chelsea player. But it is not only what I wish for, we also need to evaluate the situation. We will look into it on this position, it is one of the options and I will not comment further.”

Tuchel had not planned to ask for funds in January because he was happy with the depth of strength in his squad.

But the spike of Covid cases, which has now ruled out N’Golo Kante and Thiago Silva, as well as injuries to Chilwell and James, has prompted a rethink and discussions with chief Marina Granovskaia and technical director Petr Cech.

Chelsea will be without England left-back Ben Chilwell for the remainder of the season (Getty Images)
Chelsea will be without England left-back Ben Chilwell for the remainder of the season (Getty Images)

Chelsea have already had to cope with a host of injuries to key players, with Kante, Romelu Lukaku, Mateo Kovacic, Timo Werner, Mason Mount and Kai Havertz all spending extended spells out of action.

And with Tuchel’s side still competing on all fronts – including the Club World Cup next month – he believes his squad is in need of strengthening midway through the campaign.

He said: “We are discussing and we are in talks, of course, with the staff and the board and the scouting, checking the possibilities as we would always do.

“But given the fact that we have some long-term injuries we’re looking into the market, we’re looking into some possibilities, not in the very highest pressure. And things have to make sense for us personality-wise, position-wise and also in quality. So we have all options and we’ll check them out.”

Despite looking to strengthen his squad, Tuchel has not ruled out the possibility of Ross Barkley going out on loan in the second half of the season.

Chelsea want to recall Emerson Palmieri early from his loan spell at Lyon (Chelsea FC via Getty Images)
Chelsea want to recall Emerson Palmieri early from his loan spell at Lyon (Chelsea FC via Getty Images)

“We haven’t discussed it yet,” he added. “It depends on what Ross wants and what possibilities there are. If there are possibilities and that makes sense, let’s see.

“There is always a chance [for him to play]. It’s not like, ‘Oh, it’s the FA Cup so now you have a chance play’. There is always a chance to make the team and squad and to make it onto the pitch, especially when there are a lot of Covid and injury cases.

“The situation has not changed for Ross or anybody else. We will take the decision later but he has to do a good training session, show he is ready, and we will make a decision tomorrow morning.”

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