Premier League • England

Worst news for Ben Chilwell as Tuchel is forced to accelerate Chelsea transfer plan

Ben Chilwell, Chelsea left-back during Premier League clash at Leicester City

Chelsea now expect Ben Chilwell to need an operation to repair damage to his knee ligament, with the surgery likely to sideline the left-back for the remainder of the 2021/22 season.

The England full-back damaged his anterior cruciate ligament in Chelsea’s 4-0 Champions League win over Juventus on November 23. His initial prognosis was promising. Indeed, the Blues were hoping Chilwell could return to action without surgery.

However, that now appears to not be the case. As such, the PA News agency claims Chilwell will now need to undergo surgery to correct the problem.

As a result, Thomas Tuchel will now likely look to the transfer market to bolster their Premier League title bid in January. Indeed, Everton’s Lucas Digne is being strongly mooted as an option for the Blues.

Marcos Alonso is Chelsea’s sole frontline left wing-back in Chilwell’s absence. And while Tuchel can shuffle around his resources for alternatives, there remains an obvious lack of natural cover.

Indeed, so far the likes of Callum Hudson-Odoi, Saul Niguez and Christian Pulisic have deputised without yet appearing fully comfortable in the role.

Chelsea could also look at recalling either Ian Maatsen or Emerson Palmieri from their loan stints.

Maatsen has impressed at Coventry in the Championship. Emerson, meanwhile, has been a regular in his temporary stint at Lyon.

Chelsea to pinch Newcastle target Lucas Digne

Newcastle United have their eyes set on Digne and Umtiti but will need to outbid Chelsea to get the left back

Lukaku keen to build on recent Chelsea goal

Chelsea hit back to form with a battling 3-1 win at Aston Villa on Boxing Day. The match saw Romelu Lukaku stepping off the bench to turn the game in the visitors’ favour.

The Belgium hitman nodded home a fine goal to signal his return to sharpness after an ankle injury and then Covid-19 isolation, and has now insisted he can fill any role required by Blues boss Tuchel.

“We had a couple of conversations about whatever he wanted from me,” Lukaku told ESPN Brazil. “And I told him I’m multidimensional.

“So it’s about having a bit of clarity about how he wants to use me.

“And whatever he wants from me I think I can do whatever aspect he wants from the game, I can run in behind, I can press, I can hold the ball up.

“So I think throughout the years these are qualities I added to my game.

“I just wanted the opportunity, I’m happy that I got it and now I just want to move the team forward.”

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