Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho revealed after the 4-2 FA Cup defeat to Bradford City that Andre Schurrle missed out because of injury - not an impending £27million transfer.
The Portuguese tactician said in his pre-match press conference on Thursday that the German international winger was set to feature in the fourth round clash against the Bantams at Stamford Bridge yesterday.
However, the 24-year-old was not in the 18-man squad, sparking speculation that Schurrle could make a return to the Bundesliga. The Daily Mail claimed Wolfsburg were keen to snap up the former Bayer Leverkusen star.
Mourinho has since poured cold water on the suggestion that it was a transfer decision not to involve the player, and that 'back pain' was the real reason for the decision.
“He arrived this morning saying he has a little pain in the back,” said 'the Special One' immediately after the game, according to London 24.
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When previously discussing Schurrle, the Blues boss said that 'in principle' the club wanted him to stay at Stamford Bridge. However, the possibility of a 'phenomenal offer' could see him leave the club if he wants to pursue a new challenge.
"The principle is that we would like him to stay. The question is not to be allowed or not allowed. The question is not to have a good offer," he said on Thursday.
"The question is to have a phenomenal offer and a player to be super keen to accept a new challenge in his career because we don't want to sell our players."
In the absence of Schurrle, it was a day of embarrassment for Chelsea as they fell to an embarrassing 4-2 defeat against the Bantams.
Goals from Gary Cahill and Ramires put them in-front in the first-half, but four unanswered goals from Phil Parkinson's side saw the League One outfit pull off an unlikely victory.