Chelsea Morning News: Roman Abramovich Hands Tuchel Major Good News After Nerazzuri Accomplishment, Petr Cech Issues Powerful Statement Chelsea Statement To English FA, Chelsea Suffer Heavy Setback In Pursuit Of £60M Winger

Roman Abramovich is seemingly keen on improving the Blues squad after a resounding victory for his side against former Nerazzuri boss Antonio Conte in the Carabao Cup semi-finals on Wednesday night.

The West Londoners have been struggling with injury and Covid situations of recent and are apparently in serious need for certain reinforcements.

Daily Mail understand the West Londoners board are willing to fund the addition of certain reinforcements into the European Champions, with still a whole lot to play for this season.

It is also understood the West Londoners are keen on fast-forwarding the recall of their loanees this January with Blues chiefs already in talks with Lyon for Emerson Palmieri’s potential return to Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea director Marina Granovskaia has also made it clear the Blues have no intentions of letting Antonio Rudiger leave, as well as skipper Cesar Azpilicueta.

The latter has reportedly accepted latest deal offered by the club and is expected to put pen to paper next week.

Meanwhile, the Blues are still struggling to get Rudiger’s signature to new deal offered.

The Germany international has been subject to widespread media speculation of a return to Bundesliga or a sensational move to the Spanish capital to play alongside his countryman Toni Kroos for Real Madrid.

However, according to Granovskaia, the 28-year-old is seemingly willing to accept latest terms offered by the club.

Meanwhile, Petr Cech has slammed the decision to arrange Chelsea’s trip to Brighton on January 18, believing it will leave Blues stars ‘severely compromised’.

The former Chelsea goalkeeper, the club’s technical and performance advisor, believes Thomas Tuchel’s side have been let down when there was an opportunity to provide more rest in the interest of player welfare.

The match against the Seagulls was originally pencilled in for the beginning of February, but Chelsea’s trip to the Club World Cup meant the clash needed to be rearranged.

It is now set to be played between Chelsea’s fixtures against Manchester City on Saturday, January 15, and the visit of Tottenham on January 23. However, it will be Chelsea’s third game within seven days in a run that starts with the Carabao Cup semi-final second leg against Spurs on January 12.

Cech believes it would have been an easy decision to play the match the following day to utilise every moment of recovery they can muster.

Chelsea will have played 16 matches in just two months by the end of January, with another game to be added to the tally if they advance in the FA Cup. Much of that period has been completed with reduced squad numbers, due to both injuries and Covid-19.

N’Golo Kante and Thiago Silva have most recently tested positive, while Reece James and Ben Chilwell have lengthy spells on the sidelines, with the Blues only just welcoming back a number of other players.

“Everybody knows these are difficult and unprecedented times, in football and in life more generally. The rise in Covid-19 cases in the UK, combined with injuries that are always common at this time of year, has really affected player availability at every club in the country over the past few months.

“We are no exception and it has been clear how much we have struggled in recent weeks with so many players missing through injury, illness and isolation.

“We therefore found it disappointing to hear today that our Premier League match against Brighton, originally scheduled for when we are now due to participate in the Club World Cup in Abu Dhabi, has been rescheduled for Tuesday 18 January when we believe there are clearly more sensible dates in that week for this fixture to be played.

“Once again, we are extremely concerned about the welfare of our players in all of this and we are puzzled why Wednesday 19 January was not considered as an alternative date seeing as this would not compromise either team as we both play our next games the following Sunday 23 January.

“We are already fulfilling fixtures with depleted squads. As it stands, we have fulfilled all of our fixture commitments to date, despite not being able to start our desired starting 11 for some games over this period in which we have been playing two games a week. Scheduling us to play three games in seven days means the players’ welfare, fitness and wellbeing will be severely compromised.

“I appreciate that the removal of FA Cup replays has freed up dates in that week, but compounding issues by such an unnecessary congestion of fixtures with a two-day gap between each match is an unhealthy situation. We also find ourselves playing against an opponent in Brighton who, in comparison, only have one other match in the same seven-day period. This cannot be good for the integrity of the game or the competition.

“Everyone accepts we are all operating in unprecedented times. As a club, we are playing our part to keep everyone safe, make as many players available for selection as possible, and keep football going and the league on track, with player welfare paramount in our minds. It’s a shame that doesn’t appear to have been reflected in recent decision-making around fixtures.

“I know from my experience as a player how much difference an extra day or two can make in the recovery process. I played many games over many years during the Christmas period when it gets really hectic with game after game in England and I enjoyed it so much because it’s a special part of English football.

“However, we have to realise that we are pushing the players now beyond their limits. We have a huge amount of fixtures, a huge amount of minutes for players who are also dealing with the unprecedented Covid times. Every hour is crucial for a player to recover and actually limit the risk of a potential injury and keep the performance levels without being at risk.

“In England, we are the only league that has no winter break and the only league that has three substitutions rather than five. We have to play games every two or three days, not only over Christmas but now it seems like all through the season, and we feel the need for more support from the Premier League in situations like this.

Editor’s Choice

“When the squad is already hit by injury and Covid-19 absences, we are asking fewer players to do even more, so you are overloading them and you cannot spread it out between the group. It is unfair on the players to keep asking them to do more and more while the obstacles in front of them are becoming bigger and bigger.

“The Club World Cup is a fantastic tournament that we are really looking forward to. Even though the tournament dates have changed from their original plan, we always knew it would take place during the domestic season and we would have to rearrange some of our Premier League games as a result.

“We acknowledge this is the price of success and we would never complain about that. What we do ask for is that our players are given more consideration when these decisions are made. When there was a rare opportunity for player welfare to be prioritised, we have let them down again.”

In other news, Chelsea are reportedly set to be beaten to the signing of former transfer target Luis Diaz, with Liverpool said to be closing in on a deal.

According to The Sun, the Reds are close to signing the Porto forward in a £60million deal, with the Colombian having emerged as one of the most promising attackers in world football over recent seasons.

It is claimed that he will arrive at Anfield to fill the gap vacated by both Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah, with the pair having jetted off to Cameroon to take part in the Africa Cup of Nations.

It is suggested that Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp would have preferred a deal to have gone through in the summer, but with the Reds frontline looking somewhat light, an immediate move has been pushed through.

The news could come as a double blow to Chelsea, having been admirers of Diaz in the past – while also seeing a rival strengthened.

It was claimed in October that the Blues had joined the race for the Porto forward having been left impressed by his stunning form in Portugal, whilst questions also remained over the futures of Hakim Ziyech and Timo Werner.

Even the Colombian’s agent had commented on rumours of a move to Stamford Bridge but insisted that any attention surrounding his client’s services was to be expected.

He said: “Chelsea and Liverpool interest rumours? It’s normal.

“If a player plays well, if he starts to stand out, if the majority considers him the best player in the Portuguese League… it’s normal.”

Of course, if the Reds secure the signing of Diaz then they would be set to inflict a considerable blow on Thomas Tuchel’s men.

They would of course be set to steal a major transfer target ahead of the second half of the campaign, whilst his arrival could potentially go a long way in bolstering the Reds’ claim for a Champions League place – and even potentially the league crown should title rivals Manchester City experience a major fall-off in form.

Considering the 24-year-old’s form so far this term, that could well happen. He has already scored 14 goals in 24 matches in all competitions for the Portuguese giants – by far and away his most prolific season at the Estadio do Dragao since arriving from South American outlet Junior FC.

It remains to be seen whether the Reds complete a deal for Diaz but Chelsea will be hopeful that they do not eventually regret their hesitation in making a play for his services.