Chelsea

Champions League issue looms for Chelsea but loan recall offers Graham Potter new option

Football.London

Mykhailo Mudryk is the latest player to join Graham Potter’s squad this month in addition to Benoit Badiashile, David Datro Fofana and Joao Felix. The former Shakhtar Donetsk winger was presented to supporters at Stamford Bridge on Sunday and will now be getting to work in a bid to prove his fitness with a Premier League clash against Liverpool looming.

The 22-year-old may not be the last new arrival in west London this month as the Blues look to shape their squad in a bit to turnaround form that is left them 10th in the league. Felix has already made quite the impression in the Premier League with an electric performance being diminished with a red card, while Badiashile showed promise against Crystal Palace in his debut outing at the weekend.

However, there is no guarantee we’ll see all of Chelsea’s new stars in Europe. Champions League rules allow clubs to register three new players in time for the knockout rounds. Clubs have until 24:00 CET on February 2nd to make their adjustments.

READ MORE: Chelsea’s next January transfer decision is already underway following Mykhailo Mudryk deal

Given the Blues have already made four signings, one of those players will have to miss out. Graham Potter currently has 24 list A players in his squad and that means to even fit new three signings, two players would have to drop it. Whether that is via Chelsea making a sale, an injured player not making the cut or Potter simply being left with a brutal decision.

Eight places in the squad are reserved for locally trained players, while four of those are allowed to be association-trained players. This leaves players from overseas particularly vulnerable given the profile of Chelsea’s signings so far.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Trevoh Chalobah, Mason Mount, Reece James, and Conor Gallagher can all be categorised as locally-trained or club-trained, while Ben Chilwell, Marcus Bettinelli, Carney Chukwuemeka and Raheem Sterling qualify as FA-trained. That makes up nine players in Chelsea’s squad, meaning one of those players could be sacrificed as opposed to an overseas player.

This may allow some flexibility. Champions League rules only dictate that two goalkeepers are required to be registered for competition. If Marcus Bettinelli is removed from the squad for example that opens up another slot.

The club has recently seen the return of Lucas Bergstrom from his loan at Peterborough United. While he could yet go out on loan again, given the departures of Eddie Beach and Teddy Sharman-Lowe, he could enter the development squad’s rotation with Gabrial Slonina.

However, unlike Slonina, Bergstrom will be able to ensure Chelsea can still have three Champions League goalkeepers. The 20-year-old Finland international will be able to qualify for Chelsea’s B list, as Armando Broja, Lewis Hall and Charlie Webster have so far this term.

Unlimited additions are allowed to the list and they can be made as late as 24:00 CET the day before each match but a number of criteria must be met.

UEFA say: “A player may be registered on List B if he is born on, or after, 1 January 2001 and has been eligible to play for the club concerned for any uninterrupted period of two years since his 15th birthday by the time he is registered with UEFA – or for a total of three consecutive years with a maximum of one loan period to a club from the same association for a period not longer than one year. Players aged 16 may be submitted if they have been registered with the club for the previous two years without interruption.”

Regardless, for signings moving forward, it will be difficult for Chelsea to provide many, if any, assurances about Champions League football.

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