Chelsea will be unable to register all of their January transfer window arrivals for their Champions League squad unless they remove a player currently in it.
The Blues unveiled Mykhailo Mudryk as their fifth signing of the month during Sunday’s 1-0 home win over Crystal Palace.
Mudryk looked set to join Premier League leaders Arsenal before Chelsea matched Shakhtar Donetsk’s asking price of £87 million.
He joins David Datro Fofana, Andrey Santos, Benoit Badiashile and Joao Felix at Stamford Bridge as Graham Potter continues to overhaul his team.
Chelsea needed reinforcements, given their poor first half of the season and mounting number of injuries, but there’s no denying their squad is incredibly bloated.
They now have more non-homegrown players than are permitted for a Champions League squad. Only 17 non-homegrown players can be registered, while Chelsea now have 18 on their books per the Daily Mail.
Before their Champions League round of 16 first leg showdown with Borussia Dortmund on February 15, they’ll be able to register three new players. Those players are expected to be Badiashile, Felix and Mudryk.
Should Potter wish to include his new signings, he’ll have to remove a player who helped Chelsea top Group E late last year.
Easy candidates to omit are Christian Pulisic, N’Golo Kante and Denis Zakaria given their current injury issues.
Pulisic is set to miss the next two months with a knee injury, while Juventus loanee Zakaria is suffered from a quadriceps issue. Kante hasn’t played since August due to a hamstring problem.
Kai Havertz scored the only goal of the game against Palace to register Chelsea’s first win of 2023. Despite backing from owner Todd Boehly, Potter admitted post-match the club can’t always turn to the transfer market to fix their problems.
He explained: “I think we’ve got to be, not necessarily careful, but I think you’ve just got to understand that we’ve got about 10 or 11 players unavailable.
“So, obviously, you can’t just sign players to replace those because in the end, you have a squad of 30 and that’s the problem.
“You have to do the right thing and look at what the right solutions are. Sometimes they’re not lined completely as you’d like them because the window is complicated in January.
“My job, I think, is trying to support the club, make the right decisions. And then to help the team improve.”