Chelsea could sign left wing-back in January as cover for Chilwell

Everton’s Digne among replacement options with England defender ruled out for season

Ben Chilwell: will miss rest of the season as he requires an operation on an anterior cruciate ligament injury sustained in win over Juventus. Photograph: Robin Jones/Getty Images

Ben Chilwell: will miss rest of the season as he requires an operation on an anterior cruciate ligament injury sustained in win over Juventus. Photograph: Robin Jones/Getty Images

 

Chelsea could be forced to sign a left wing-back in January after deciding Ben Chilwell needs an operation on an anterior cruciate ligament injury.

Chilwell has been out of action since sustaining a serious knee injury against Juventus last month, but Chelsea have been waiting to see if the problem heals naturally.

Thomas Tuchel’s side have not been the same without the England defender and there were hopes that the 25-year-old would boost their title chances by making a swift recovery after he returned to light training this month.

However Chilwell, whose rehabilitation was delayed after he tested positive for Covid-19 before Christmas, is unlikely to play again this season after it emerged that the injury requires surgery. The procedure is expected to take place this week and will leave Chelsea short of options.

Chilwell’s absence is also a blow for England, who have Nations League games against Germany, Hungary and Italy in June. However the defender is expected to have recovered in time for next winter’s World Cup in Qatar. The more pressing concern is the impact his injury will have on his club side.

Marcos Alonso is currently the only left-sided defender at Tuchel’s disposal, with Saúl Ñíguez, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Christian Pulisic unconvincing alternatives. Tuchel will be conscious of overplaying Alonso and could decide to enter the market for emergency cover.

Chelsea could look at a loan move for Lucas Digne, who has fallen out of favour at Everton. They have also been credited with interest in Milan’s Theo Hernández, but he would be expensive and difficult to sign at this stage of the season.

Another option would be to recall either Ian Maatsen or Emerson Palmieri from their loan spells. Maatsen, 19, has helped Coventry in the Championship and Emerson, who is on loan at Lyon, started when Italy beat England in the Euro 2020 final.

Chelsea, who are six points behind Manchester City at the top of the league, could be without N’Golo Kanté and Thiago Silva when they host Brighton on Wednesday evening.

Kanté had a recurrence of a knee injury during Chelsea’s win over Aston Villa on St Stephen’s Day and Silva has a hamstring problem. Meanwhile, Tuchel is waiting to see if Timo Werner, Kai Havertz and Ruben Loftus-Cheek are ready to return after spells in isolation. - Guardian

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.