Chelsea summer signing set for crunch Graham Potter talks, with no end in sight to ‘difficult situation’

Denis Zakaria, September 2022

Denis Zakaria will soon have crunch talks with Chelsea manager Graham Potter amid his lack of any game time whatsoever for the Blues.

Chelsea signed the Switzerland midfielder on transfer deadline day this summer under the orders of former manager Thomas Tuchel. The German initially wanted Ajax’s Edson Alvarez but failed with a bid.

As a result, Zakaria came in from Juventus on a season-long loan deal and Chelsea have a £26million option to buy.

However, he has yet to play a single minute for the Stamford Bridge club. He has made the bench three times in the six games since he moved to London, but his only game time since then came for Switzerland in the September international break.

According to transfer expert Fabrizio Romano, Zakaria will subsequently hold crunch talks with Potter.

Romano claims that Zakaria will talk to the manager about his “difficult situation” and how he integrates himself into the side.

Zakaria did not make the Chelsea squad for the 2-1 win over West Ham, Tuchel’s last Premier League game in charge of the Blues.

He made the bench for the 1-0 Champions League defeat to Dinamo Zagreb, after which Tuchel got the sack.

Since then, though, Potter has used Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Conor Gallagher, Mason Mount, Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic in Chelsea’s midfield instead.

Of course, not all of the quintet have played all the time, but they are interchanging off the bench unlike Zakaria.

Kai Havertz has also played in a slightly deeper role at times under Potter to give the coach another option.

Zakaria in similar situation to Arthur Melo

Zakaria, though, has not got a single look-in. Romano adds in his report that Juventus “had him in consideration” before letting him move to the Premier League.

Zakaria only moved to Juve in January from Borussia Monchengladbach and signed a four-and-a-half year contract. But, he failed to settle and the Turin club were open to letting him leave.

The same was the case for Arthur Melo. Liverpool picked up the Brazilian from Juventus on deadline day, but he too is struggling for game time.

In fact, Arthur has no chance of playing for Liverpool until 2023 because he requires surgery on a muscle injury.

Midfielder has Chelsea worries

Zakaria gave a recent interview in which he insisted he feels hopeful of fitting in at Chelsea this season.

He also confirmed initial talks with Potter in which the manager revealed he “likes the style of player” Zakaria is.

However, it looks a stretch to say Zakaria can make an impact in a Chelsea shirt before the World Cup.

Potter has orchestrated three wins in a row for Chelsea, keeping two clean sheets in the process.

The manager will not want to tinker too much with a winning formula, especially not to bring in a player who has not played any Premier League football.

Zakaria should therefore have his eyes on a Carabao Cup appearance, or a substitutes’ role late on in games if Chelsea are winning, to build up his experience.

That is of course much easier said than done. No results are guaranteed for any teams in the Premier League or Champions League.

It would have helped Zakaria’s cause if Chelsea had breezed through their Champions League group. However, there are only two points between the four teams in Group E, meaning the Blues have it all to do to reach the knock-out stages.

Zakaria is still likely to go to the World Cup with Switzerland, where he will hope to make an impact.