Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is KICKED OUT of Chelsea’s Champions League squad by Graham Potter to slot in £107m Enzo Fernandez, as £35m Benoit Badiashile misses out too
- Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has struggled for minutes under Graham Potter
- Enzo Fernandez, Mikhailo Mudryk and Joao Felix have all been brought in
- UEFA rules state clubs can only register three recent players for knockout rounds
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has sensationally been kicked out of Chelsea’s Champions League squad for the knockout stages to make room for £107m signing Enzo Fernandez.
The striker has not began a single game for Chelsea since November and the influx of recent signings will only increase competition in forward positions.
Reports in Spain claim that the 33-year-old was desperate to go away Stamford Bridge – and would have preferred a return to Barcelona – but he didn’t exit through the January window.
Since making his move to Stamford Bridge in August, the striker has failed to ascertain himself within the Chelsea side, with Kai Havertz often deployed as a No 9 as an alternative.
Aubameyang has nevertheless began all six games for Chelsea within the Champions League this 12 months, scoring against AC Milan at Stamford Bridge and the San Siro.
Chelsea have also been forced to go away £35million January signing Benoit Badiashile out of their Champions League squad, while wantaway winger Hakim Ziyech keeps his place.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has been kicked out of Chelsea’s Champions League squad
Chelsea have been forced to go away £35million January signing Benoit Badiashile out of their Champions League squad
UEFA rules allow only three recent players to be registered for the knockout rounds – January signings Mykhailo Mudryk (left) and Joao Felix have been included
Recent signings Mikhailo Mudryk and Joao Felix join Fernandez in being added to Chelsea’s squad.
The Blues come up against Borussia Dortmund across two legs within the last-16 later this month, but Graham Potter has faced a variety headache after Chelsea recruited an extra eight players in January.
The British-record signing of World Cup winner Enzo Fernandez took Todd Boehly’s spending to a staggering £323.5m in January.
But UEFA rules stipulate only three recent players could be registered for the knockout stages, which has left Potter unable to pick out all his latest signings.
Potter ultimately had to make a choice from Badiashile, Fernandez, Mikhailo Mudryk and Joao Felix, with the Frenchman missing out to accommodate for the attacking stars.
Article 46.01 of the Champions League regulations states: ‘As of the round of 16, a club may register a maximum of three recent eligible players for the remaining matches in the present competition.
‘Such registration should be accomplished by 2 February 2023 (24.00CET) at the most recent. This deadline can’t be prolonged.’
Clubs had until the tip of Thursday to substantiate their squads to UEFA, who released them on Friday.
Speaking ahead of Chelsea’s clash with Fulham on Friday night, Graham Potter admitted that some players can be left upset.
‘There’s going to be just a few awkward conversations. That is the truth of where we’re,’ he said.
‘Only 11 can play and only a certain quantity could be in squads so there’s at all times going to be a certain quantity who shall be upset.’
There was some wriggle room because Chelsea only named 24 players of a permitted 25 on their List A for the group stage, leaving open an additional space.
Chelsea won’t face similar problems registering the players for the Premier League, whose rules are less rigid than UEFA’s.
It is a blow for Badiashile who penned a seven-and-a-half-year deal at Stamford Bridge after leaving Monaco last month.
£107million signing Enzo Fernandez has been drafted straight into the Chelsea squad, taking Aubameyang’s place
The Blues had been searching for a left-sided centre-back because the summer and were unable to agree a take care of RB Leipzig for Croatian World Cup star Josko Gvardiol.
After representing France at every youth level, Badiashile’s domestic performances for Phillipe Clement’s side saw him called as much as the senior squad last 12 months, making his debut in a 2-0 Nations League win over Austria in September.
Noni Madueke, Andrey Santos and David Datro Fofana may also miss out on Champions League football this season, while Malo Gusto has rejoined Lyon on loan until the tip of the season.