Chelsea are looking likely to trim their squad this winter transfer window following the huge sum splashed this summer for the arrival of new arrivals at Stamford Bridge.
Frank Lampard has made the difficult look rather easy this season.
Fusing summer arrivals successfully with existing squad members as the Blues are currently on a run of eight unbeaten games in the premier league, also guiding the Blues into the knockout stages of the Champions League with minimal fuss.
However, things do not get any easier in the coming weeks. Chelsea face a gruelling December schedule and then the January transfer window opens, which will force Lampard to make tough decisions over several members of his squad.
There will be departures, that much is inevitable. Too many players are on the fringes, firmly out of Lampard’s first-team plans due to poor form or sheer misfortune.
So who could be on the move either permanently or on loan in January? We have identified seven potential departures.
Kepa ArrizabalagaEmbed from Getty Images
The world’s most expensive goalkeeper featured last for Chelsea midweek in the Champions League with Lampard opting to keep first choice goalkeeper on the bench. His future at Stamford Bridge however appears bleak after losing his spot.
Edouard Mendy has firmly established himself as Lampard’s number one and has kept nine clean sheets in 13 games after joining from Rennes in the summer transfer window.
Kepa will not want to be second choice throughout the season, especially as he hopes to remain in the Spain squad ahead of next summer’s European Championship. Yet his stock has never been lower and Chelsea will not want to sell at a significant loss.
The 26-year-old, who cost the Blues an eye-watering £71 million, still has five years left on his contract. An 18-month loan or perhaps even longer starting in January may enable Kepa to rebuild his confidence and ensure Chelsea can recoup at least half of what they paid Athletic Club.
Fikayo TomoriEmbed from Getty Images
The 22-year-old has made just three appearances for Chelsea this term, totaling 225 minutes. It’s simply not enough game time for a defender with his potential.
Tomori needs to play and a loan move in January can ensure that happens. Newcastle United have been linked and, according to Goal, there are other potential suitors across Europe.
The defender must, of course, choose wisely. Lampard likes Tomori he’s said that countless times stretching back to their time together at Derby County and you feel he wants the England international to succeed at Stamford Bridge.
Yet he won’t do that if he remains the club’s fifth-choice centre-back. Tomori turned down a loan move in the summer, that stance must be reconsidered next month.
Marcos AlonsoEmbed from Getty Images
There appears no way back for Alonso at Chelsea after a falling out with Lampard following the 3-3 draw with West Bromwich Albion.
According to The Athletic, the Blues boss was furious with the left-back after he was at fault for two of the Baggies’ first-half goals and then, having been substituted at the interval, decided to watch the start of the second period from the team bus rather than on the bench with his teammates.
Alonso, perhaps unsurprisingly, hasn’t played for Chelsea since. Even more damning, he hasn’t even been included in a Premier League match-day squad.
A January departure appears inevitable. Inter Milan have long been linked with the Spaniard and a loan deal, at the very least, may be agreed without too much hassle.
Emerson PalmieriEmbed from Getty Images
The 26-year-old’s future may be predicated on what happens with Alonso as Lampard will not want two left-backs to depart in January given Ben Chiwell’s injury issues this term.
Emerson has featured seven times for Chelsea this season and his most recent outing was a moderate 90 minutes midweek at Krasnodar.
The Italian international is an able deputy, someone who can step in to give Chilwell a match off when required. Yet if Alonso remains, Emerson could still depart, especially as Inter Milan and Juventus have been linked.
Baba RahmanEmbed from Getty Images
Signed by Chelsea in the summer of 2015 from Augsburg, Rahman has never been able to establish himself at Stamford Bridge.
He made 23 appearances in his first campaign but then spent two-and-a-half seasons on loan at Schalke, had a six-month stint with Reims in France and was with La Liga side Mallorca last term.
Yet these moves are not what have derailed his career. Injury issues have plagued the left-back since he suffered a meniscus rupture at the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations.
He has played just 21 times since the start of the 2017/18 season and is nowhere near Lampard’s first-team squad. His contract runs until 2022, but a move away from Chelsea in January may give the 26-year-old a chance to kickstart his career.
Danny DrinkwaterEmbed from Getty Images
A key part of Leicester City’s fairytale Premier League title win in 2016, Drinkwater joined Chelsea the following year. Sadly, his career has since become something of a nightmare.
He played 22 times under Antonio Conte, but was then completely sidelined by Maurizio Sarri. Lampard wasn’t keen on the midfielder, either and allowed him to join Burnley on loan for the 2019/20 season.
Yet several off-field issues saw that move ended early. A temporary switch to Aston Villa in January went no better, with Drinkwater headbutting a teammate in training and playing just four games for the club.
He has since opened up on his struggles and has looked sharp for the Blues’ development side when given a runout. But the 30-year-old needs to get away from Chelsea in January.
Olivier GiroudEmbed from Getty Images
Without question, the hardest decision Lampard has to make regards the World Cup winner, who wants guarantees over his playing time ahead of next summer’s European Championships.
Giroud has once again proven himself important this season: his match-winning header against Rennes in the Champions League was followed up by four goals against Sevilla to secure top spot in Group E and last weekend’s leveler against Leeds.
The 34-year-old is also, as often highlighted, an important dressing room figure and has developed a close relationship with Tammy Abraham.
But Giroud needs to play regularly if he is to ensure his place in the France side for Euro 2020; the 352 minutes he’s managed so far this season simply won’t cut it.
If Lampard is unable to give him greater first-team opportunities, plenty of others will. Inter, Tottenham Hotspur, West Ham United, Newcastle United, and several other European sides are all reportedly interested.
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