The Blues’ preparations for the 2021-22 Premier League campaign have been hit by an outbreak at the training ground among a group of players
Chelsea have narrowly avoided an Arsenal-like Covid-19 shutdown after several members of the playing staff tested positive for the virus.
One first-team player and some from the academy building tested positive and have had to isolate for 10 days during the club’s pre-season preparations.
Sources have told Goal that it temporarily risked the cancellation of their Ireland training camp, but further testing cleared key players to travel and exit their isolation periods following contacts with those who had tested positive.
What does it mean for Chelsea?
For Chelsea, it remains business as usual as Thomas Tuchel targets as normal a pre-season as possible to implement his ideas.
Tuchel has already trialled a new formation in the opening pre-season 6-1 win over Peterborough United, which was played behind closed doors.
There will be another behind-closed-doors fixture in Ireland against a local team before Chelsea face Bournemouth, Tottenham and Arsenal in front of near-full stadiums.
The bigger picture
With many footballers still on holiday due to their participation in summer tournaments, there’s concern about further self-isolation periods for key players ahead of the new season.
It extends beyond Chelsea, with Arsenal having to cancel their tour of the United States, where they were due to face Inter on Saturday and a second game against either Everton or Millonarios.
The Gunners have had several positive tests and are seeing playing staff isolate, while a smaller group now continues to train.
Manchester City have also seen a Covid-19 outbreak shut their academy building, which remains in a bubble away from their first-team set-up.
The rises in cases across football come during a huge spike across wider society in the United Kingdom, with coronavirus restrictions having been lifted in England on Monday.
With footballers and their families now allowed more freedoms as cases continue to rise, there are concerns within the game that it could impact the start of the new season.