Few would argue against Chelsea having an impressive transfer window. It didn't come cheap of course, but adding quality in the form of Enzo Fernandez on deadline day left little room for argument that the Blues had improved the squad Graham Potter has at his disposal.
However, making eight transfers does not come without its problems. Team selections will be difficult, matchday squads will be challenging to put together and Chelsea find themselves oversubscribed for their Champions League squad. Only three of the club's new arrivals will be able to be added to Potter's group for European competition.
Champions League rules allow clubs to register three new players in time for the knockout rounds. Clubs have until 24:00 CET (23:00 GMT) on February 2nd to make their adjustments.
READ MORE: Enzo Fernandez debut, Mykhailo Mudryk - Graham Potter's 4 exciting Chelsea options for Fulham
However, they are also limited in the number of players they can name. Chelsea selected 24 players out of the 25 they were permitted at the start of the season on their A list, with the likes of Armando Broja and Lewis Hall being on the B list. Players can be added to the latter at any time so long as they hit other criteria.
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."
Jorginho's departure to Arsenal has opened up another space in Chelsea's squad meaning that one more player must be sacrificed if Potter hopes to name three of his new signings among the group to face Borussia Dortmund. Mykhailo Mudryk, Noni Madueke, Enzo Fernandez, Benoit Badiashile, Joao Felix and David Datro Fofana will all be waiting eagerly to discover their coach's choice.
Tough decisions await, and our football.london writers take a look at what they would do.
Let’s get the obvious out of the way: Mykhailo Mudryk and Enzo Fernandez will be named in Chelsea’s Champions League squad for the knockout stage. Their price tags – not to mention the hard work to ensure both arrived at Stamford Bridge – will ensure that.
Who takes up the other spot is incredibly difficult – and predicated someone being removed from the list that was submitted back in September. Graham Potter and his staff face two very difficult decisions and will know their choices will disappoint players in their squad.
There is no standout candidate to be unregistered, no obvious fall guy. N’Golo Kante won’t be fit until late February, at the earliest, but it’s unfathomable to omit a player without whom Chelsea would not have lifted the big-eared trophy in 2021.
Given Mudryk’s inevitable inclusion, there is logic in going down the one in, one out rule. Hakim Ziyech was ready to leave the club for Paris Saint-Germain on deadline day and it’s impossible to know how that failed transfer will impact him. Then there is Christian Pulisic, who is currently sidelined with a knee problem and not expected back until the end of this month.
I know this will be unpopular – and I’m certainly not suggesting this is the right answer; I don’t believe there is one – but I’m leaning toward omitting Pulisic simply because of the other options in his position and the fact that there’s no telling quite how long his recovery will take, nor whether he will be able to hit the ground running on his return.
I appreciate the same argument could be made for Kante, but I think when fit and at his best, the France international remains the biggest difference-maker in the Chelsea squad.
There is one workaround, albeit one that comes with risk. Chelsea could unregister third-choice goalkeeper Marcus Bettinelli and add Lucas Bergstrom, who counts as club trained, to the B list. Of course, that does then put huge pressure on Edouard Mendy and Kepa Arrizabalaga to remain fit for the rest of the season, and both have had injury issues this term.
But who fills that last position? After much debate, I’ve gone with Joao Felix. His creativity and guile is something Chelsea have lacked for so long in the final third. He can win a game on his own. I do admittedly feel very bad for Benoit Badiashile and Noni Madueke.
Given most of Chelsea's signings have been added to make an impact now and in the future, it's difficult to see anything but three new players being registered for the Blues' Champions League squad. If fees paid have any bearing on players' standing in the squad, it will be a quick decision to add Enzo Fernandez and Mykhailo Mudryk but then things become more difficult.
First, who makes room? Chelsea have no shortage of injuries, with Christian Pulisic and N'Golo Kante both expected to miss the first leg against Borussia Dortmund with no guarantee they will be fit for the second. The likes of Denis Zakaria, Wesley Fofana and Edouard Mendy also remain out for the moment.
One candidate would be Marcus Bettinelli, however. Clubs are required to name two goalkeepers in their squad and while Bettinelli's presence may be deemed more important given Mendy's current situation, he can be replaced with another squad slot being taken up. Lucas Bergstrom, who returned from loan in January, can be placed on Chelsea's B list to fulfil the role of third goalkeeper. Only if he is trusted to deputise should Kepa Arrizabalga be hit by injury, however.
It then becomes a question of where Chelsea need strengthening most. Benoit Badiashile has performed well alongside Thiago Silva, Noni Madueke will bring an attacking presence but has a great deal of competition and Joao Felix did not arrive cheap on loan.
With defensive options in the form of Trevoh Chalobah, Kalidou Koulibaly and hopefully Fofana in addition to Silva perhaps, Badiashile will be deemed excessive, whereas Potter has appeared keen to utilise Kai Havertz to lead his line and reluctant to choose Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Should the German have an issue, perhaps Felix becomes the more favourable option, or at least the more necessary.
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