As shown by Chelsea TV in their latest training ground report, those players who had not been called up by their respective national teams during this FIFA-mandated break returned to Cobham on Monday for training, joining head coach Antonio Conte, who was back from his own education vacation. The work thus begins for Saturday’s match against Leicester City up at the King Power Stadium.
Incidentally, one of the new faces at training is none other than Leicester City hero Danny Drinkwater, joining his new teammates for the first time.
The hard work continues for those not away on international duty…🏃 pic.twitter.com/TENe2Izb8C
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) September 4, 2017
Also training were Baba Rahman and Kylian Hazard, neither of whom are registered to play in the Premier League or Champions League, which is understandable in the latter case (Kylian’s signing basically a favor to big brother Eden) but is a bit baffling in the former — if Baba’s good enough to train with the first-team already, surely he could’ve been a more useful player than either Digeo Costa or Loïc Rémy, both of whom were on the official list while Baba was not. Sure, Baba is likely to head out on loan in January, but just be the mere fact that he’s with the team unlike the two strikers makes him a more viable option.
In any case, good to see many of the international “outcasts” — nice word choice, Daily Mail — getting back into the swing of things as the season starts in earnest. Seven matches in three weeks — the health and depth of the squad will be put to the test early and often.
As also mentioned by Chelsea TV’s report, Lucas Piazon has undergone successful surgery following his ankle fracture at Fulham and is now set to start his recovery.
More Breaking News:
Antonio Conte disappointed Chelsea didn’t sign these two players.
Chelsea manager Antonio Conte will have been disappointed to miss out on the signatures of Virgil van Dijk and Romelu Lukaku in the summer transfer window, according journalist Dominic Fifield.
The Blues were heavily linked with a host of players throughout the summer transfer window but they were unable to tie up deals for Van Dijk or Lukaku.
Chelsea ended up signing six players in the summer after securing the arrivals of Willy Caballero, Antonio Rudiger, Tiemoue Bakayoko, Alvaro Morata, Davide Zappacosta and Danny Drinkwater.
The west London side were linked with Lukaku but the striker ended up signing for Manchester United from Everton, while defender Van Dijk remained at Southampton.
And Guardian reporter Fifield believes that Conte will have been frustrated to miss out on the duo.
Speaking on Sky Sports’ Sunday Supplement show, Fifield said: “I think the hierarchy will look back and think: ‘We’ve not had a bad window’.
“They’ve spent £180m and recouped a fair chunk, and their squad is perhaps marginally stronger than in May.
“But I think Conte wanted it to be a lot stronger and he’ll be disappointed that they haven’t got a Virgil Van Dijk or a [Romelu] Lukaku in. Alex Sandro as well.
“He wanted all these players, and that level of tension that’s been there all summer will continue to simmer.”
Chelsea return to Premier League action on Saturday when they take on Leicester City at the King Power Stadium.