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The Blues are active in the transfer market, but have stopped several youngsters’ loan talks as they consider their cup options.
Chelsea has halted discussions on the academy player loan moves until mid-January to allow Frank Lampard to select as many under-23 stars as possible for the FA Cup third-round clash with Morecambe.
Tino Anjorin, Henry Lawrence and Lewis Bate are among the youngsters likely to start against the League Two team at Stamford Bridge on January 10.
However, the match remains in doubt after several Morecambe players tested positive for Covid-19, prompting the cancellation of league clashes with Bolton and Bradford.
The Blues’ next opponent, Manchester City, also canceled their recent match with Everton for the same reason, but Chelsea are operating with a normal approach until the Premier League tells them otherwise.
“I think it’s a key moment and a difficult moment,” Lampard said after his team’s 1-1 draw with Aston Villa on Monday. “I think we felt that when level 4 came with the increase [in Covid-19 cases]. We have to keep safety first.
“I think that’s why the game has been suspended, due to the dispersion in the Man City team. From our point of view, I will find out in the next day or two because it has to be safe for both teams.” If not, the game will not continue.
“I think the Premier League will lead us on that, but yeah, it’s a tough time. It doesn’t surprise me because the way Covid is in the UK is tough for everyone. Football is no different all the time so we will have to see what the Premier League comes up with. But safety is paramount. “
There are now ongoing discussions about a possible two-week hiatus from English football to overcome the large increase in Covid-19 cases that has hit the UK.
Behind the scenes, Chelsea are working on the transfer market.
Fikayo Tomori is looking for a loan out as he has not played for Chelsea since September and has interests in Newcastle and overseas clubs.
However, Tomori’s future is tied to that of Antonio Rudiger, who is also considering leaving the club to ensure he is selected for Euro 2020.
Emerson Palmieri and Marcos Alonso are drawing interest after battling for playing time since the arrival of Ben Chilwell.
Atlético de Madrid are reportedly interested in Alonso after Inter attempted a loan in the summer. Emerson is happy to stay at Chelsea, having had assurances about his status with the Italy team, but would also consider offers to return to Serie A.
Kepa Arrizabalaga could also leave in January, but it is highly unlikely that any club will pay a transfer fee or the full salary of the club’s record signing of £ 72 million ($ 95 million). Olivier Giroud had been willing to leave Chelsea in January but has softened his stance after a series of matches.
Danny Drinkwater and Baba Rahman are looking for loan moves, as they have been stuck with the U-23s after failing to win moves over the summer.
For Rahman, there are clubs lining up to take him on a six-month loan. Two anonymous clubs in Spain and France are at the forefront of the queue and their future will be decided in the next fortnight. The Ghana international has been injured for two years, but is back in top form and playing for Chelsea’s development team.
Chelsea also recently turned down a £ 3 million offer from Rostov for Ike Ugbo, who has scored 10 goals in 16 loan games at Cercle Brugge. The 22-year-old forward will be able to leave if a £ 5 million offer comes through.
Charly Musonda is back in training after a 15-month injury nightmare, but will have to prove his fitness at Cobham before considering a loan deal.
West Ham’s Declan Rice remains Chelsea’s main transfer target, but the Hammers will resist his sale and competition is expected to emerge from the rest of the top six for the England international.