Jose Mourinho has warned Andre Schurrle and Mohamed Salah they have just five months to save their Chelsea careers, after warning that failure to rediscover top form could see them sold in the summer.
The London Evening Standard reports how the two under-performing wingers have received reassurances they won't be forced out of Stamford Bridge in January, but the Blues boss made clear he is dissatisfied with both players' contributions so far this season.
Schurrle - an £18 million signing from Bayer Leverkusen in the summer of 2013 - has struggled to maintain his fitness since returning from the World Cup with Germany, while Salah has been unable to make any kind of impact since moving to west London from FC Basel in an £11 million deal just under 12 months ago.
Both will be determined to break into the Chelsea line-up on a more regular basis between now and next May, but it could prove to be difficult given the increased competition for places in Mourinho's squad this term.
With Eden Hazard, Oscar and Willian the preferred trio that's been deployed to support Diego Costa in attack, Schurrle and Salah have been forced to wait patiently for their chance in the team.
Article continues below
The World Cup winner has actually started both of Chelsea's previous two games against Tottenham Hotspur and Watford, but has been hauled off at half-time in both those matches after failing to take his opportunity.
Meanwhile, the Egypt international has been restricted primarily to cameo appearances off the Blues bench, and frustratingly remained an unused substitute in the 3-0 victory over Championship opponents in the FA Cup third round on Sunday.
Given the strength and depth of Mourinho's current squad, the Portuguese tactician is unlikely to make any new signings in the January window, unless an opportunity arises which is simply too good to ignore. However, everyone knows that instances like that are few and far between in an inflated mid-season market.