Big-money Chelsea signings to miss out on Champions League squad as Enzo Fernandez brings further headache

 (Chelsea FC via Getty Images)
(Chelsea FC via Getty Images)

Chelsea will have to leave some of their January signings out of their Champions League squad list ahead of their last-16 clash against Borussia Dortmund in February.

Only three new players can be registered for the knockout stages, so Chelsea are left with a major selection headache having been so busy in the transfer market. Enzo Fernandez is set to be the Blues’ eighth signing of the window.

Due to UEFA rules, Chelsea are required to register all their new signings on List A by the February 2 deadline, which will limit all clubs to 25 players. The Blues had a 24-man squad for the group stage which leaves one spot open to adding a player.

It means only one of Fernandez, Joao Felix, Mykhailo Mudryk and Benoit Badiashile can be added initially before Chelsea have to start removing current senior players to make the squad. Despite Felix and Mudryk appearing earlier in the campaign, they are not cup-tied for the Blues.

However, at least one of those four players cannot be added, while Noni Madueke is among those that look set to miss out too. Potter will likely leave out 19-year-old striker David Datro Fofana and 18-year-old midfielder Andrey Santos, who were signed from Molde and Vasco da Gama respectively in January.

Chelsea must have eight ‘association trained players’, including four homegrown, which might give them an opportunity to drop third choice goalkeeper Marcus Bettinelli or youngster Carney Chukwuemeka.

Injured Armando Broja cannot be removed from the list to make space as he was previously on List B, for Under-21s players who have spent a number years at the club.

It leaves Potter mulling over who to leave out of the senior overseas players currently injured, such as Wesley Fofana or Christian Pulisic. Denis Zakaria is an alternative option due to his loan status.

In any case, those dropped are likely to be unhappy with the decision especially if Chelsea reach the latter stages of the competition they won in 2021.

Speaking after his side’s 1-0 win over Crystal Palace earlier this month, Potter warned that problems could arise from Chelsea’s aggressive transfer market activity.

“We’ve got to be, not necessarily careful, but you’ve got to understand we’ve got ten or eleven players unavailable and you can’t just sign players to replace those because then you’d have a squad of 30 and that is a problem,” he said at Stamford Bridge.

“So you have to do the right thing and look at what the right solutions are. Sometimes they are not aligned completely as you’d like them because the January window is complicated. But always my job is to try to support the club, make the right decisions, and help the team improve.”

One positive is that the Premier League rules are less stringent and Chelsea can register all of their new talent.

Datro Fofana, Santos, Mudryk and Badiashile count as U21 players, while Felix takes up a senior squad place and there is room for Fernandez too.