Huge name omitted from Chelsea’s Champions League squad

Huge name omitted from Chelsea’s Champions League squad

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has been left out of Chelsea’s Champions League squad for the knockout stages of the competition. In the full squad list released today, the 33-year-old was the most notable absentee and has raised doubts about the centre forwards future in London.

There had been rumours during the January transfer window that Aubameyang could be on the move once again but UEFA rules surrounding how many clubs a footballer can play for in a season proved to be a stumbling block.

The ex-Barcelona man only signed for the Blues in the summer and that was after he had already played for the Catalan side at the start of the season. It meant that the only way out of Stamford Bridge for Aubameyang was a return to Barcelona but their manager, Xavi, was said to be uninterested in reuniting with the Gabonese striker. 

Up until 12 months ago, Aubameyang was considered one of the hottest properties in Europe with Arsenal fans devastated when he left North London for Barcelona. The past year has been difficult for him, though, and now faces four months of potentially no game time under Graham Potter at Chelsea. 

New blues make the squad

It was an extremely busy January transfer window for Chelsea with the club bringing in a total of eight new faces. Spending around £300 million in total, the most noticeable incomings were Enzo Fernandez, Mykhailo Mudryk and Joao Felix. 

As per UEFA rules, clubs are only allowed to register three new players for their Champions League squads ahead of the knockout rounds meaning Potter had to decide which three of the eight new signings made the cut. 

Unsurprisingly, he went with Fernandez, Mudryk and Felix in a move that means £30m signing Benoit Badiashile won’t be playing Champions League football until September at the earliest. For that to happen though, Chelsea will need to finish in the top four in the Premier League or win this season’s Champions League. 

Fortunately for the Frenchman, time is well and truly on his side with the centre-back only turning 21 last March.

Benoît Badiashile

Ahead of the squad announcement, Graham Potter admitted that he was preparing himself for some difficult conversations with some of his players. He said:

“There will be awkward questions and conversations as that’s where we are because only XI can play and certain numbers can be in squads

So it’s about being honest, open, respectful and as transparent as you can. We have to create an environment where you respect players want to play and respect players want to compete and help the team.”

The final chance of silverware

With Chelsea out of both domestic cups, the Champions League is their only hope of silverware this season. They have been drawn against Borussia Dortmund in the round of 16, with the first leg taking place in Dortmund in two weeks before they welcome the German side to Stamford Bridge on the 7th of March. 

The tie will present English fans with another opportunity to get a closer look at Jude Bellingham. The teenager shone in the World Cup in December and has been tipped for a Premier League return in the summer.

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