Reece James will make Chelsea’s squad for the Boxing Day Premier League clash with Bournemouth.

Reece James will make Chelsea’s squad for the Boxing Day Premier League clash with Bournemouth.

The England full-back missed the World Cup in Qatar after knee trouble, but is working back towards full sharpness now.

Blues boss Graham Potter expects Wesley Fofana to be out for a “couple of weeks” after a setback in the France defender’s recovery from his own knee issue.

Reece has been training with us, and he completed 65 minutes in the week,” said Potter, referring to Chelsea’s friendly against Brentford.

Wesley just had a little setback, as can sometimes happen at the very last stage of rehab. So he’ll be a couple of weeks.”

Wesley just had a little setback, as can sometimes happen at the very last stage of rehab. So he’ll be a couple of weeks.”

Edouard Mendy has been back in training with the Blues after his World Cup exploits with Senegal.

Armando Broja will miss the rest of the season after tearing knee ligaments, while Ruben Loftus-Cheek has a heel problem, Ben Chilwell a thigh issue and N’Golo Kante is out until at least February after hamstring surgery.

Chelsea had 12 players at the World Cup, with Potter explaining that group has “dripped back in” – barring Hakim Ziyech and Mateo Kovacic.

Morocco’s Ziyech and Croatia’s Kovacic came face to face in the third-fourth place play-off, with both Blues stars yet to return to west London training and unavailable on Boxing Day.

Predicted Chelsea XI: Kepa, James, Koulibaly, Chalobah, Cucurella, Jorginho, Gallagher, Mount, Sterling, Havertz, Aubameyang.

Tuesday December 27, 5.30pm GMT, Amazon Prime Video

Venue: Stamford Bridge

Referee: Simon Hooper

Chelsea squad from: Kepa, James, Koulibaly, Chalobah, Cucurella, Jorginho, Gallagher, Mount, Sterling, Havertz, Aubameyang, Mendy, Azpilicueta, Silva, Zakaria, Chukwuemeka, Hall, Casadei, Pulisic.

Injured: Broja (knee), Chilwell (thigh), Kante (hamstring).

Unavailable: Ziyech, Kovacic.

With the 2022 Qatar World Cup now firmly in the footballing rear-view mirror, focus is back on the Premier League with Chelsea one of the final teams to return to action as they take on Bournemouth at Stamford Bridge in five days.

Although the Premier League is yet to return and the January transfer window is nine days from opening, major developments are still occurring at Stamford Bridge, with Christopher Vivell announced as Chelsea’s new technical director on Wednesday, completing the significant backroom re-shuffle conducted by Todd Boehly.

The Blues look to have completed their second proposed January transfer window signing in the form of a Brazilian wonderkid, while there have been notable updates in the future’s of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo who both have admirers in west London.

With that said, keep the blog on lock as we bring you all the latest Chelsea news.

Cristiano Ronaldo has been heavily linked with some of the world’s richest clubs following his exit from Manchester United.

The 37-year-old striker is now a free agent after the Red Devils confirmed that he has left the club with immediate effect. Ronaldo had already been heavily linked with an exit from Old Trafford on a number of occasions this season but a revealing TV interview with Piers Morgan was the final straw.

United were said to be ‘furious’ after the TV attack of the club caught them by surprise, with the five-time Ballon d’Or winner claiming that he felt betrayed.

Investigations will be had as to how world famous chef Salt Bae – real name Nusret Gokce – was allowed onto the pitch after the World Cup final. The Turkish man was seen holding the trophy and also badgering Lionel Messi for a photo during the Argentine celebrations.

Salt Bae’s appearance was met with plenty of anger and backlash from football fans watching on and has already garnered the attention of the US Open Cup, America’s oldest football competition. The official account tweeted after images of the chef went viral on Sunday, writing: “Salt Bae is hereby banned from the 2023 Open Cup Final.”

Chelsea hero Frank Leboeuf has told the club that their season is effectively over – and has urged owner Todd Boehly to splash the cash on a number of new signings to prepare for the 2023/24 campaign.

Chelsea spent big in the summer, with the likes of Raheem Sterling, Kalidou Koulibaly, Marc Cucurella and Wesley Fofana amongst others joining the club following the Boehly-led takeover. The cash-laden American then sacked Thomas Tuchel and appointed Graham Potter, who started well but Chelsea’s form tailed off before the World Cup break.

With Chelsea in eighth place and fixtures against Manchester City and Liverpool on the horizon, Leboeuf believes his former club should consider the current campaign a write off. The ex-France defender wants the Blues to focus on snapping up talent such as Christopher Nkunku and Josko Gvardiol as a way of wiping the slate clean going into next season.

Chelsea are continuing to blend their new recruitment team with the summer’s interim work of Todd Boehly and Behdad Eghbali. Those two have been the public figures in command of the day-to-day business at the club since their takeover earlier this year and it’s been busy, to say the least.

With transfer acitivity and club progression avenues being explored across the globe there is no knowing where the latest transfer or new director might come from. Be it young or old, Chelsea are showing extreme interest and openness in all aspects of the new regime’s plan to function.

Chelsea could be handed a way out of one of their summer transfers if they wish to part company already. Todd Boehly splashed the cash to bring in a handful of new recruits with the aim of improving Thomas Tuchel’s squad for the present and the future, but seven months into their ownership and it’s tough to see a successful signing for the first team so far.

Although it remains too early to judge the younger movers (Carney Chukwuemeka, Gabriel Slonina, Cesare Casadei and Omari Hutchinson), with Wesley Fofana, 22, and Marc Cucurella, 24, included, there hasn’t been a statement impact made by Kalidou Koulibaly, Raheem Sterling or Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

Rio Ferdinand has singled out RB Leipzig defender Josko Gvardoil for praise following his strong showings at the World Cup in Qatar

The 20-year-old defender was in terrific form as Croatia made it to the semi-finals, having knocked out tournament favourites Brazil on penalties along the way. Beaten by eventual winners Argentina, much has been made of Gvardiol’s future, with Chelsea, Arsenal and Spurs said to be interested in the defender.

Chelsea will be bidding to ensure vital qualification for next season’s UEFA Champions League as the return of the Premier League edges closer.

Graham Potter’s side has suffered a torrid time as of late – having failed to win since October – when they beat Aston Villa 2-0. The Blues may look to the transfer market for further reinforcements in January, with forward Armando Broja out for the rest of the season following his recent setback.

With the mid-season break perhaps presenting Chelsea with a vital chance for a reset, Potter’s side will hope to close the gap on the Premier League’s top four, with eight points currently separating themselves and Spurs.

Chelsea are reportedly “very serious” about signing Borussia Dortmund’s Youssoufa Moukoko.

Dortmund striker Moukoko, who’s just 18, is a very exciting youngster.

The teenage centre-forward is already making his mark at first-team level, scoring six goals and making six assists this season so far in Dortmund colours.

Also, he was included as part of the Germany squad at the World Cup in Qatar.

The Croatian star was one of the best performers during the World Cup where his country finished third ahead of Morocco. His displays have impressed Madrid but Marca report that Chelsea still have the upper hand in signing him.

Leipzig currently have no reason to sell Gvardiol as they are financially strong and only recently committed him to a new contract. However, it is reported that Premier League clubs remain interested in Gvardiol with Chelsea in the lead.

An early Jordan Ayew opener put Crystal Palace ahead and raised concerns but a fine Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang equaliser before half-time and then, a stunning Conor Gallagher winner in the 89th minute felt poetic given the midfielder’s successful loan spell with Palace last season.

For Potter, the win would spark a much needed boost for his players, four days later he would get another notable win with more eyes watching at Stamford Bridge.

October began with Graham Potter’s first Premier League in charge at Selhurst Park.

Chelsea are going into the January transfer window with a central midfielder right at the top of their wish list. The Blues have seven midfield players to choose from when all are fit and ready, but there is serious doubt over two of their futures going into the window.

N’golo Kante and Jorginho will both see their contracts expire in the summer of 2023 and it currently seems as though no talks are occuring over an extension.

A midfield overhaul seems to be in place for Todd Boehly and Chelsea, although Carney Chukwuemeka, who arrived in the summer, could play a significant role for the Blues after impressing Graham Potter over the World Cup break.

Todd Boehly certainly is doing the transfer rounds once more. Chelsea have been linked with the Brazilian superstar previously and PSG’s apparent attacking exodus could play into the new owners hands if they wish to take advantage.

Chelsea look to be on the verge of completing their second January transfer signing with the arrival of Vasco de Gama star Andrey Santos.

Chelsea star Kalidou Koulibaly is on Inter Milan’s list of potential Milan Skriniar replacements, with talks over a new contract for the Slovak stalling.

The 27-year-old will see his Inter contract expire in the summer of 2023 and with minimal progress being made over an extension, Inter have outlined three potential replacements.

AS Roma star Chris Smalling and Spezia’s Jakub Kiwior are the two other names on the list with Koulibaly, formerly of Napoli, the only option outside of Italy listed.

The 31-year-old only joined the Blues in the summer, but has endured a mix start to life in west London which could make a proposal to head back to Italy an enticing one for the Senegalese defender. However, Chelsea are unlikely to want to sell Koulibaly less than four months after signing him.

Chelsea may have been sent an indirect warning by Manchester United about Cristiano Ronaldo, who is admired by the Blues co-owner Todd Boehly.

After being handed a bit-part role in Erik ten Hag’s revolution of United, the six-time Ballon d’Or winner saw his contract terminated in November following a scathing attack on the club.

Interest in Ronaldo has arrived from the Middle East with Al-Nassr placing a proposal on the table for Ronaldo to join until 2025, however the former Real Madrid forward is hopeful a European club will register an interest.

Chelsea seem to be his best bet, especially now the Blues will likely search for a striker in January following the knee injury and subsequent surgery to Armando Broja. However, they may be tempted to look elsewhere especially given United’s stance on Ronaldo which has perhaps been shown with how they said goodbye to Ronaldo.

Chelsea are close to completing their first January transfer after agreeing a £10.5million deal to sign Molde striker David Datro Fofana.

The Ivorian forward has scored 15 goals and provided a further five assists in 24 appearances so far this season.

Fofana is set to undergo medical tests today (Thursday) ahead of his transfer to Chelsea, according to transfer guru Fabrizio Romano. At 20, Fofana fits into Todd Boehly’s plans to sign talented youngsters that have the potential to become regular first team players in the future.

The Jude Bellingham transfer saga has taken another twist which could heavily impact the immediate decisions of Liverpool and Chelsea, with Real Madrid now leading the race for his signature.

All three clubs have held a long-term interest in the talented teenager and Madrid look to be in pole position to add him to their stacked midfield.

The addition of Bellingham to the Premier League either for Chelsea or Liverpool looked destined to come true despite interest from Madrid, especially with the transfer hints dropped on England duty at the World Cup particularly with Liverpool’s Henderson and Trent Alexander-Arnold.

However, a new report has placed Madrid as the leaders for the 19-year-old.

The future of Juventus star Dusan Vlahovic is very unclear at the moment given the financial predicament the Spanish club are in which has prompted interest to arrive from the Premier League.

Chelsea and Arsenal have made enquiries for the 22-year-old who snubbed the Gunners last January, favouring a move to Juventus.

However, following the resignation of the club’s entire board and their poor league form, Vlahovic could be on the move after joining less than a year ago.

Speaking to GiveMeSport, Ben Jacobs claimed that Todd Boehly is currently beating his league rivals in the pursuit of Juventus’ number nine.

He said: “It’s actually Chelsea, from a Premier League point of view, making the inquiries at this point, and we know that they need a striker as well.”

Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy will see his current deal expire in 2025, although the latest reports indicate a new contract has been offered and subsequently swiftly rejected by the 30-year-old.

The Sun report that Mendy was the recipient of a new six year contract offer but that it was rejected because of the gap in wage demands.

The reason for the rejection is because Mendy wants to be paid as much as Kepa Arrizabalaga which would mean the Blues would have to double his current wages to suit his demands.

AC Milan, Nice and Monaco are all waiting in the wings to see how the contract situation plays out with all three clubs potentially eyeing a transfer swoop.

Chelsea fans could receive a welcome transfer boost in 2023 amid suggestions that Declan Rice may finally ask to leave West Ham.

Rice was let go by Chelsea as a youngster but has been consistently linked with a big money return to the club as he looks to join a team where he has a greater chance of winning silverware. Hammers’ boss David Moyes has often been loathe to discuss the possibility of Rice leaving the London Stadium but when pushed, has quoted a figure of around £100million for the England international.

Now Chelsea specialist Simon Phillips has claimed that the 2023 summer transfer window could be the one that sees Rice move back to west London, although Todd Boehly will have to face challenges from a number of other leading Premier League clubs if they are going to get their man.

Chelsea are closing in on their proposed second signing of the January transfer window after a deal was struck between the Blues and Molde for David Datro Fofana.

French outlet Le10 Sport wrote last month that Chelsea were set to agree a £15million deal for Andrey Santos, with the Blues moving swiftly to secure his signature before interest arrived from elsewhere. However, that plan was somewhat halted with Real Madrid eyeing a move along with interest from fellow Premier League sides Manchester City and Newcastle United.

It looks as though Chelsea have been able to fend off the interest from a number of clubs and are on the verge of securing a deal for Santos, with Lucas Pedrosa revealing the proposal was formalized following the conclusion of the World Cup.

Saudi Arabian outfit Al Nassr have confirmed to the camp of Cristiano Ronaldo of their intention to push and insist on his response to their proposal until June 2025, according to Fabrizio Romano.

While at the World Cup with Portugal, Ronaldo confirmed that the claims of an agreement being close were not true, but following the tournament’s conclusion in Qatar, he is still waiting for European clubs to declare an interest.

The future of Lionel Messi, both internationally and domestically, is currently up in the air following Argentina’s World Cup triumph with his current Paris Saint-Germain contract up in the summer.

Messi joined PSG from Barcelona in 2021 on a two-year contract and where he will be playing his football for the 2023/24 season is unknown.

Conflicting reports have recently emerged surrounding Messi and any contract extension talks with PSG, potentially giving Chelsea and Todd Boehly a boost in their hopes of signing him.

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