João Félix gets last Chelsea Champions League spot
Enzo Fernández and Mykhailo Mudryk were guaranteed to be registered for the Champions League by Chelsea, with one of six other January signings.
João Félix has been given the nod over Benoit Badiashile and has been registered to play for Chelsea in the knockout stages of the Champions League. The Blues had to decide which three of their eight January signings were going to be included on ‘List A’ (senior players registered for European competition), with UEFA allowing participating clubs to make a maximum of just three changes following the January transfer window. And, as crazy as it sounds given his talent, there appeared to be a realistic chance that on-loan Atlético Madrid schemer Félix would be one of the ones to miss out.
Enzo Fernández and Mudryk on Chelsea’s roster
Enzo Fernández and Mykhailo Mudryk, for whom Chelsea paid a reported €121 million and €70 million respectively, were guaranteed to be included, so manager Graham Potter was forced to choose only one of the six remaining signings. Wesley Fofana, Malo Gusto, Noni Madueke and teenage goalkeeper Gabriel Slonina had only an outside chance of getting in, which meant the one remaining spot was between Félix and Badiashile, who Chelsea paid Monaco €38 million for and has started the last two Premier League games in central defence.
Which Chelsea player has been left off their Champions League roster?
Ultimately, Potter has plumped for Félix, a decision which has seen Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang drop off the list of Champions League-registered players. The Londoners had used up 24 of the 25 spaces permitted by UEFA before the transfer window opened, which meant they had one available and needed to free up another two in order to be able to register the maximum of three new players. Jorginho’s departure to Arsenal was one, leaving Potter to decide which other player would drop out.
At one stage, it seemed certain to be Hakim Ziyech, who was within minutes of signing for Paris Saint-Germain on transfer deadline day, while on-loan Juventus man Denis Zakaria, who has barely played for the club, was another option. But Aubameyang was ultimately the man sacrificed, which shouldn’t come as a huge surprise in the sense that he has started only one of Chelsea’s seven matches - in which he failed to score - since the World Cup break, although his absence does leave the Stamford Bridge outfit very light on out-and-out strikers.
Bayern Munich register João Cancelo and keep Manuel Neuer
There were no real surprises elsewhere, with Bayern Munich registering January signings João Cancelo and Daley Blind, while keeping Manuel Neuer on the list despite the fact that he is expected to sit out the rest of the season. Borussia Dortmund have left 18-year-old striking sensation Youssoufa Moukoko on List B (clubs can register an unlimited number of ‘B’ players, who are born in 2001 or later) even though he has become an important first-team player, which Real Madrid have included two Real Madrid Castilla players - Iker Bravo and Vinicius Tobias - on List A.
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