The carnival that is transfer deadline day is now over and Premier League clubs must now submit their squads for the coming season.
The home grown player rule was introduced for the 2010/11 season in an effort to encourage the promotion of young English players in the Premier League. But complying with it will cause Chelsea a few headaches this year.
The home grown rule states that clubs cannot name more than 17 non-home grown players over the age of 21 and Chelsea’s failure to agree a fee with Arsenal over a season long loan for Demba Ba has left Jose Mourinho with a selection dilemma which is going to end in disappointment for one of his senior players.
The ideal scenario would have been for Ba to have joined Arsenal and to have kept the young Romelu Lukaku. Apparently Arsenal was the only club Ba was willing to join, all of which leaves Chelsea with one over aged non-home grown player too many for the forthcoming league campaign.
With Lukaku and Victor Moses having been loaned out, Chelsea only have five home grown players (John Terry; Ashley Cole; Gary Cahill; Frank Lampard and Ryan Bertrand) which means that Chelsea’s first team squad will only be 22 players rather than the maximum 25 players permitted for the coming season.
Is it time to panic down at the Bridge? Hardly, the following bit part players are available as under 21 players; Oscar; Kevin De Bruyne, Eden Hazard; Josh McEachran; Nat Chalobah; Jamal Blackman; Thomas Kalas and Nathan Ake.
All of which leaves 18 over aged non-home grown players and only 17 places available.
With Lukaku now at Everton and only three recognised strikers available it is inconceivable that Demba Ba will be the odd man out even though Chelsea were willing to loan him out to Arsenal.
If the deal had gone through Lukaku would have been retained as an under aged player and the problem would have been solved but Chelsea have effectively lost a squad player by failing to agree a loan fee with Arsenal.
My money would be on Henrique Hilario being the odd man out; bringing in Mark Schwarzer on a free is now looking like an inspired piece of business and young keeper Jamal Blackman was given a taste of the big time on the club's pre season tour.
Furthermore, having a young English keeper on the bench at some time during the season is also good PR for the club. Should Chelsea somehow manage to lose all three keepers to injury or suspension there is always that renowned English goalie John Terry, who kept a clean sheet in his only game in goal for Chelsea at Reading when Petr Cech and Carlo Cudicini both went off injured.
The Champions League squad will be even more of a headache for Mourinho.
Chelsea have five 'locally trained' players; one that qualifies as 'club trained' and four that will be classified as 'association trained'. The under-21 option is slightly different in the Champions League and Kalas and Van Ginkel would need to be added as squad members if they were to be eligible to play. If Mourinho decides to include Van Ginkel and Kalas in his squad then three senior players need to be omitted from the squad for the group games.
Kalas is suffering with a long term injury at the moment, so is unlikely to be picked for the Champions League squad and the club have plenty of cover at centre half, which makes the situation a bit easier.
Hilario will once again almost certainly miss out due to John Terry's versatility. It is the final player to miss out that is going to give Mourinho headaches and a major player is going to miss out on the group stages of the Champions League. How ironic if it is one of the new signings as one of the great attractions of joining a club like Chelsea is the lure of Champions league football.
For one unlucky player the Champions League dream will have to be put on hold, at least until January when the second set of squad lists are announced for the knockout stages.
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