Chelsea’s players have headed off to Ireland for a week-long training camp in County Kildare as they continue their preparations for the 2021/22 season.
The vast majority of those who have been training at Cobham and who played against Peterborough in the first friendly last Saturday are thought to have made the trip though the club hasn’t confirmed who is in and who is out of the travelling party.
Football.London understands that youngsters Tino Anjorin and Ian Maatsen have not made the short hop across the Irish Sea for the camp and one friendly which will take place later this week.
But the senior players that have been back at Cobham have also travelled to Ireland with the likes of Kepa, Edouard Mendy, Christian Pulisic, Tammy Abraham, Hakim Ziyech and Marcos Alonso all making the trip. Those returning loanees have also headed across the water.
It represents another chance for head coach Thomas Tuchel to take a closer look at some of those who will be keen to impress him and stake their claim for a place in his Premier League squad for the upcoming campaign.
The likes of Ziyech, Armando Broja and Abraham have had strong starts to pre-season as they all netted in the 6-1 thumping of Peterborough, as did Pulisic.
So heading into what is effectively week two of pre-season for the players, time is already beginning to run out for some of those players who need to impress the head coach. He will have noticed a lot over the first week and the second may well be nearing the end as he starts to assess his squad in terms of transfer targets that he might want to bring in.
So who needs a strong Irish trip to force their way into Tuchel’s head?
It is a big summer for the Chelsea midfielder, who had a rather middling loan spell at Fulham last season which ended in the Cottagers being relegated back to the Championship.
RLC is determined to prove himself to Thomas Tuchel in pre-season to give him a place in the Blues’ Premier League squad, something the midfielder craves.
After suffering his devastating achilles injury in a post-season friendly in 2019 that ruled him out of the Europa League final, Loftus-Cheek may well be in the midst of his last chance to make it as a regular at Chelsea for the future.
Likewise Loftus-Cheek, it could be now or never for Ross Barkley, who also didn’t set the world alight while on loan last season as Aston Villa.
Barkley was back on the Cobham training pitches on Tuesday but hasn’t really hit the heights that was expected of him when he made his belated £15million move from Everton in 2018.
Three years later, Barkley’s career has stalled once again and he faces an important few weeks in pre-season to keep his name in the frame for the European Champions’ squad for 2021/22.
Football.London has been told the initial signs from Barkley in pre-season are promising and he got a 45-minute run out during the win over Peterborough, as did every other outfield player who has been a part of the squad so far.
For the Albanian striker, it is more a case of building on his good start to the summer which saw him score against Peterborough and 24 hours later, bag himself a new five-year contract in west London.
Broja is clearly rated by Tuchel and elsewhere within the club as he was offered fresh terms to keep him at the club until 2026. With Chelsea in the market for a new striker this summer, but it is a very slow market at the moment, Broja could be the one to take advantage of it.