Maurizio Sarri has been struggling to get his side performing with any sort of consistency since the turn of the year, losing five matches in all competitions.
Considering the Blues suffered only three competitive defeats under the Italian in 2018, few could’ve expected their fall from grace would be so swift.
The Londoners rarely play the kind of dominating football from the earlier stages of Sarri’s tenure, which has led accusations of the players not truly buying into his philosophy.
While the former Napoli boss did have little time to build a squad with the specific personnel of his choosing, he was given some rope in the summer and window transfer periods.
In addition to the marquee signings of Kepa Arrizabalaga and Jorginho, deals involving Mateo Kovacic, Gonzalo Higuain and Christian Pulisic were negotiated with the option of all three becoming permanent Chelsea players next season.
Prior to the threat of a two-window transfer ban being imposed on Chelsea, this was their most likely plan to get the trio on board.
Pulisic would link up with his new parent club in west London after seeing out the remainder of the season at Borussia Dortmund.
Kovacic and Higuain, on the other hand, are understood to be purchasable at the conclusion of the campaign, as per the terms of the Blues’ agreements with Real Madrid and Juventus.
However, with Chelsea prospectively forbidden from registering new players until the summer of 2020, is any of it still possible?
According to Telegraph journalist Matt Law, not all of it.
He tweeted: “I’m trying to check but I think under the terms of a transfer ban, Chelsea would still be able to sign Higuain but not Kovacic.
"However, an appeal would most likely give them the summer in which to trade in any case.”
Chelsea would settle for even the slightest bit of wriggle room instead of the full punishment hanging over them, which the club have already announced will be appealed.
Aside from troubles off the pitch, there’s no denying Sarri’s men have failed to live up to their promise shown earlier in the campaign.
Chelsea are a point adrift of the top four in a bitterly competitive race for Champions League qualification, so they could end up relying on a Europa League title to earn their place.
Manchester City await in Sunday’s League Cup final and Sarri will be desperate to avoid another humiliating result against Pep Guardiola - especially off the back of the Blues’ FA Cup exit this week.News Now - Sport News