A few squad members have fallen down the pecking order at the Stamford Bridge since the arrival of Thomas Tuchel.

After the lows and highs of the 2020/21 season, European Champions Chelsea have started the 2021/22 season with great intent. After nine matches, the Blues sit atop the Premier League table. Though it is still early days to predict the winner, Chelsea look like a team determined on bringing the Premier League back to Stamford Bridge. 

When Thomas Tuchel arrived in January 2021, Chelsea were in a rut. He was appointed manager just two days prior to the winter transfer deadline day. The German had to make use of the players at his disposal. But the former PSG manager had some exceptional talents at his disposal.

Tuchel has laid down his plans for the blues and there are some top names in the squad who are not a part of his plan, and might look for a move away. 

Here are the top five current Chelsea stars whose futures lie elsewhere.

5. Ruben Loftus-Cheek

The 25-year-old was marked to be the next big thing out of Chelsea’s stellar academy. But injuries and change of managers on a regular basis have halted his progression. Chelsea have a plethora of talents in the middle of the park. Big names like N’Golo Kante, Mason Mount, Jorginho, Mateo Kovacic and Saul Niguez are all ahead of him in the pecking order. This led to the Blues offering Loftus-Cheek to West Ham in the summer transfer window.

Having spent most of his Chelsea playing days out on loan, the 25-year-old needs to find a club where he gets regular game time. His performance this season, in whatever little game time he has got, have been stellar. If Loftus-Cheek decides to leave, many clubs would come circling in for the midfielder.

4. Ross Barkley

Barkley joined Chelsea in 2018 for €15 million (Courtesy: Sky Sports)

Ross Barkley turned down the offer to join Tottenham Hotspur and chose the Blues instead in 2018. Barkley was the standout performer at Everton. But since his €15 million move to Chelsea in 2018, Barkley only looks a shadow of his former self.

Barkley enjoyed a fruitful season out on loan at Aston Villa in 2020/21. But his performances have not yet been able to convince Tuchel who publicly stated that the attacking midfielder is not a part of his plans. With the likes of Leeds, Aston Villa and Burnley all keeping tabs on his situation, and Chelsea willing to negotiate, it all depends on Barkley to make the next step in his career.

3. Kepa Arrizabalaga

Edouard Mendy has starred for Chelsea since his arrival from Rennes. In his first season at Stamford Bridge, he won the UEFA Champions League Goalkeeper of the Season award. 

Kepa Arrizabalaga has been playing second fiddle to Mendy since his arrival. With the Senegalese custodian putting in heroic performances week in, week out, it seems highly unlikely for Kepa to retain the no.1 position.

Brought in to replace Petr Cech, for a whooping fee of £72 million from Athletic Bilbao, Kepa could never live up to that heavy price tag. The world’s most expensive goalkeeper’s Chelsea career has been a nightmare. Kepa is arguably one of Chelsea’s costliest mistakes. With Mendy at the helm, Kepa needs to move on with his career elsewhere. 

Juventus are reportedly offering a way out for the Spain International. If Kepa is to make the move to Turin, the Spanish gaolkeeper can find a way to resurrect his career.

2. Hakim Ziyech

Ziyech’s Chelsea career has been plagued with injuries (Courtesy: The Pride of London)

The Moroccan was one of the hottest properties in Europe, when he made his big move to Chelsea in the summer of 2020 . He was the talisman at Ajax and registered more than 20 assists in the last three seasons. Fans were expecting him to carry his form to Chelsea. After his arrival However, Ziyech has spent more time on the sidelines rather than on the pitch. Average performances and regular injuries have seen him fall down the pecking order at Chelsea.

Ziyech undoubtedly is still a world class talent and may still have a future at Chelsea. But at 28, Ziyech should be tearing it up rather than seeing it out from the bench . The Moroccan international is not short of suitors if he decides to move. AC Milan are among the interested clubs for the winger, who are a keen admirer of his abilities.

1. Christian Pulisic

The American was brought in to fill in the boots of Chelsea superstar Eden Hazard. In his first season at the Bridge, the speedster was vital to Chelsea’s attack. His performances made him a constant hit among the Chelsea faithful. The American was destined to be the next Eden Hazard, and was also awarded with the #10 jersey at Chelsea. 

Injuries halted Pulisic’s bright start at Chelsea. His struggles to remain fit have been a key factor for him misfiring this season. A run of bad games have seen him drop out of the squad and Tuchel is seriously considering the future of the American star. 

Pulisic’s Chelsea career has certainly hit a stop sign and with the likes of Hudson-Odoi bursting into the scene, his future seems to be uncertain. At the young age of 23, Pulisic has qualities to be one of the best in Europe. He is wanted by many top clubs in Europe, who are in need of a world class winger in their ranks.

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