Emerson return, Barkley exit, Kounde plan – Chelsea’s best and worst case transfer deadline day

Transfer deadline day has arrived. A day of opportunity, disappointment or complete apathy and sometimes all three.

The Blues head into the final day of the window having only signed Dylan Williams from Derby this month, with the 18-year-old left back settling into Chelsea’s development squad.

January has also seen Juan Castillo end his loan with Birmingham to join Charlton, Jamie Cumming end his stay with Gillingham to head to MK Dons, while Kenedy returned to Cobham’s training pitches from his spell with Flamengo.

With less than 24 hours remaining there is still more work to be done at Stamford Bridge, though it seems unlikely there will be any additions to reinforce the first team.

Nevertheless we take a look at the best and worst case scenarios of what could unfold for Thomas Tuchel and co below:

Best case scenario

The Blues begin their work with an early morning call to Lyon, to give one last offer of compensation to end Emerson Palmieri’s loan in France, that finally tempts the Ligue 1 side to line their pockets.

Four years on from first signing with the club, the Italian makes his return to Stamford Bridge to challenge Marcos Alonso for his spot on the left flan, leaving Tuchel happy that he has a figure he knows and trusts.

Outside of that, it leaves the Blues unlikely to focus their attempts on making any more signings in preparation for approaching the likes of Aurelian Tchouameni and Jules Kounde in the summer.

However, trimming the fat of the squad and enhancing the development of some of Chelsea’s young stars remains crucial.

In the summer, Malang Sarr, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Ross Barkley were all widely expected to leave the club, but none found a move to come to fruition.

Sarr has found his importance grow over the season, and even with the return of Emerson has proven himself a valuable asset on his way to completing 90 minutes 10 times. The Frenchman has allowed Tuchel to swap to a back four, and been the figure trusted to allow Antonio Rudiger a rest.

Loftus-Cheek has made 20 appearances this season with 16 of those in the Premier League and Champions League and he is sure to have a role for the remainder of the season.

However, Barkley’s position is more tenuous with some heartening cameos over the course of the season but the financial reward of a sale being more alluring. Premier League strugglers Newcastle and Everton could find themselves competing for the former Toffee and earning Chelsea a fee they couldn’t have hoped for in the summer.

Elsewhere, Tino Anjorin completes his expected loan to Huddersfield Town in spite of Southampton’s interest in a permanent deal, with the opportunity to earn valuable minutes before returning to Chelsea in the summer.

The best case would also include Chelsea being able to retain the services of Joe Edwards and Anthony Barry on their coaching staff as Frank Lampard is confirmed Everton boss and hopeful of linking up with both once again.

Worst case scenario

An inactive day would be the end to an unsuccessful January transfer window for the Blues.

With no sign of a wing-back, the Blues have made it clear they wouldn’t make simply any signing and that Alonso and Sarr will carry the weight of Chilwell’s absence.

The day would also see a frustrating time for Barkley and Anjorin, with deals unable to cross the line and an uncertain end to the season cemented.

However, Everton could remain involved.

If the Toffees first claim the expertise of Barry, Chelsea’s set piece specialist, and longtime coach Edwards, who has been on the Blues’ staff since 2004, and joined the first team coaching set up in 2019 under Lampard.

Edwards has been a key figure in the journey of Chelsea’s Cobham products, and the duos’ departure would leave Tuchel scrambling to keep his backroom team to the high-level he has grown accustomed to.

They would have company on their way to Goodison Park as Everton persuade the Blues to part ways with Loftus-Cheek on loan to link up with his former boss. A disappointing result with Barkley still on the books given the academy product’s contributions this season.


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