Chelsea midfielder Danny Drinkwater could stay at Chelsea next season so that the club can satisfy rules around homegrown players in the Champions League.
UEFA regulations state that teams must name at least eight homegrown players in the squads picked to take part in the competition, but a report from the Telegraph explains that the Blues currently risk falling short of that requirement.
Chelsea do not have enough senior players who are classed as homegrown, meaning they will either have to promote players from their academy or face receiving a penalty of a reduced squad size in Europe next season.
Therefore, Drinkwater, who did not play one competitive game under Maurizio Sarri in 2018/19 and was last seen during Chelsea’s Community Shield loss to Manchester City last August, could yet remain at Stamford Bridge.
The 29-year-old joined the 2012 Champions League winners in a £35 million deal from Leicester City two years ago, but has played just 23 games and scored only one goal since.
It was expected that he would be on his way out this summer despite having three years left on his contract, but Chelsea may now choose to keep him to give themselves a better chance of complying with these regulations.
The quota can be met by including ‘B list’ players in the squad, but the Blues’ transfer ban means they won’t be able to sign new players to resolve the issue.
Homegrown players who could step up for Chelsea next season
Mount impressed while on loan at Derby County last season and with Frank Lampard rumoured to be taking over at Chelsea, he could be a name included in the Champions League squad.
Ampadu is well-known having already played several times for Chelsea’s first team. The centre-back is tipped for a bright future in the game, and more European experience could speed up his development.
McEachran was on the ‘B list’ for the Europa League last season but is yet to make his first-team debut. The attacking midfielder will be hoping to get his chance next term.
Like McEachran, midfielder Gallagher was also a ‘B list’ player in last season’s Europa League, meaning the club must have felt he was good enough to play his part if called upon.