While most managers are dreading bad injury news over the international break with players away on duty, Chelsea suffered one closer to home on Friday.
During training, midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko was forced to stop earlier than scheduled after pulling up with a problem, as reported by The Sun.
The Frenchman was working away from the group which makes the report even more concerning, as it wasn’t a contact injury which suggests he may have sustained muscular problem of some sort after it’s claimed he suffered the issue during sprint work.
It will become clearer once Chelsea have been able to carry out their tests to examine the extent of the problem, but after Michy Batshuayi returned from the Belgium squad with a foot problem this week, the last thing Antonio Conte would have wanted was for more bad news on the injury front.
The 23-year-old was suffering with an injury complaint heading into the season with a problem dating back to last year while he was still with Monaco, but he’s gone on to make 15 appearances in all competitions since, scoring twice and providing three assists, to establish himself as a key figure for the Blues.
In turn, it’s far from ideal that he’s suffered a setback now, but fortunately for Conte, he has recently welcomed back N’Golo Kante and Danny Drinkwater to ensure that he isn’t left desperately short in midfield for the games ahead, assuming that Bakayoko may now be sidelined.
Chelsea return to action when they face West Bromwich Albion at the Hawthorns on November 18, and Conte will be hoping for good news across the board before then to get as close as possible to a full-strength squad with the fixtures piling up with both the Premier League and Champions League schedules ramping up.
Tottenham set to rival Chelsea in pursuit of Ross Barkley – report
The 23-year-old has come up through the ranks at Goodison Park and gone on to play 179 games for the Toffees, in which time he has scored 27 goals and laid on 28 assists.
However, his future at the Merseyside outfit is far from certain given that he has yet to sign a new deal with the club, and with his current one set to expire at the end of the season, Everton could look to cash in on the England international in January to at least get a fee for his services.
And reports suggest that Antonio Conte’s Chelsea, who Barkley reportedly turned down on deadline day, and Pochettino’s Spurs will seek a move for the midfielder, who could be looking at the exit door in a bid to bolster his flagging World Cup hopes.
But whether either side are indeed able to get a deal done for the 23-year-old very much remains to be seen.
Chelsea will rival Spurs for his signature in a transfer saga which may well rumble on once again during the January window.