Chelsea have named their 26-man squad for the UEFA Super Cup against Villarreal, although the Blues will still have an opportunity to register Romelu Lukaku for the game if his move from Inter Milan is completed within the next 48 hours.
football.london understands a fee of around £98million has been agreed between the Blues and the Serie A champions for the forward, who has agreed a five-year contract to return to Stamford Bridge.
Lukaku – who was on Chelsea‘s books between 2011 to 2014 – is reportedly set to undergo a medical today in his native Belgium and his move could be made official tomorrow once he has arrived in London.
Per UEFA regulations, Chelsea have until 11pm on Tuesday to make any amendments, such as including Lukaku, to their squad for the Super Cup, which will be played in Belfast on Wednesday evening.
There are a couple of surprise inclusions – and two notable omissions – in the initial squad list Chelsea have submitted to UEFA.
Ethan Ampadu, who has only played pre-season minutes against Tottenham and the in-house game that took place at Cobham yesterday, makes the cut while there is also a place for young striker Armando Broja.
The Albania international enjoyed a fine start to pre-season but didn’t feature against either Arsenal or Tottenham Hotspur in the Mind Series and is expected to leave the Blues on loan in the coming days.
One of Chelsea’s standout pre-season performers, Trevoh Chalobah, isn’t included in the squad list and that is likely to be because the 22-year-old is set to leave the Blues on loan despite impressing Thomas Tuchel.
football.londonexclusively revealed earlier today that Chelsea are hoping to find a club to take the academy graduate for the 2021/22 campaign and use him as a centre-back rather than in midfield.
The other surprise absentee from the list is Ruben Loftus-Cheek. The 25-year-old has featured throughout pre-season and it was after the victory against Arsenal last weekend that Tuchel threw down the gauntlet to the England international.
“Generally, I am happy and that’s why he plays, he deserves to play at this point of the preparation,” Tuchel explained.
“But I think he can do even more, he can show up more. He can show more physical capability and drive more with the ball. I’m never satisfied with him, I have the feeling we need to push him to the absolute limit.
“It’s too early to judge Ruben. He has everything in his hands and it’s on him to decide his own future like every player. He has to keep on going 150% because 100% is not enough.”
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Tuchel has included the six Chelsea stars – Mason Mount, Reece James, Ben Chilwell, Jorginho, Emerson and Thiago Silva – who only returned on Monday for pre-season training.
It is highly unlikely any of those six start in Belfast given their lack of match fitness.
Goalkeepers: Edouard Mendy, Kepa, Marcus Bettinelli, Lucas Bergstrom
Defenders: Reece James, Cesar Azpilicueta, Andreas Christensen, Thiago Silva, Kurt Zouma, Ethan Ampadu, Antonio Rudiger, Ben Chilwell, Marcos Alonso, Emerson
Midfielders: N’Golo Kante, Jorginho, Mateo Kovacic, Mason Mount, Tino Anjorin
Attackers: Christian Pulisic, Hakim Ziyech, Callum Hudson-Odoi, Kai Havertz, Timo Werner, Tammy Abraham, Armando Broja