Chelsea pause academy loans ahead of mass debuts in the FA Cup match with Morecambe

Frank Lampard Tino Anjorin and Lewis Bate
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The Blues are active in the transfer market but they have paused loan talks for several youngsters as they consider their cup options

Chelsea have stopped discussions on loan moves for academy players until mid-January to allow Frank Lampard to select as many Under-23s stars as possible for the FA Cup third-round clash with Morecambe.

Tino Anjorin, Henry Lawrence and Lewis Bate are among the youngsters who will likely start against the League Two side at Stamford Bridge on January 10.

However, the match remains in doubt after several Morecambe players tested positive for Covid-19, leading to the cancellation of league clashes with Bolton and Bradford.

The Blues' next opponents, Manchester City, also called off their recent match with Everton for the same reason, but Chelsea are operating on a business-as-usual approach until told otherwise by the Premier League.

"I think it is a key time and a tough time," Lampard said after his side's 1-1 draw with Aston Villa on Monday. "I think we felt that coming as tier-4 came in with the surge [in Covid-19 cases]. We have to get safety as paramount.

"I believe that’s why the game has been called off, because of the spread in the squad for Man City. From our point of view, I will find out in the next day or two because it has to be safe for the two teams. If not, the game won’t go ahead.

"I think the Premier League will direct us on that, but yes, it is a tough time. I am not surprised because how Covid is in the UK is difficult for everybody. Football isn’t different all the time, so we will have to see what the Premier League come up with. But safety is paramount."

There are now discussions ongoing about a possible two-week stoppage of English football to overcome the large spike in Covid-19 cases that has hit the United Kingdom.

Behind the scenes, Chelsea are working in the transfer market.

Fikayo Tomori is seeking a loan exit having not played for Chelsea since September and has interest from Newcastle as well as clubs from overseas.

However, Tomori's future is linked to that of Antonio Rudiger, who is also considering leaving the club to ensure that he is selected for Euro 2020.

Emerson Palmieri and Marcos Alonso are both attracting interest after struggling for game time since Ben Chilwell's arrival.

Atletico Madrid are reportedly interested in Alonso after Inter attempted a loan swoop in the summer. Emerson is happy to stay at Chelsea, having had assurances over his status with the Italy national team, but he would also consider offers to return to Serie A.

Kepa Arrizabalaga could also leave in January but it is highly unlikely that any club will pay a transfer fee or the full wage of the £72 million ($95m) club-record signing. Olivier Giroud had been open to leaving Chelsea in January but he has softened his stance after getting a run of games.

Danny Drinkwater and Baba Rahman are seeking loan moves, having been stuck with the Under-23s after failing to earn moves over the summer.

For Rahman, there are clubs lining up to take him on a six-month loan. Two unnamed clubs in Spain and France are at the front of the queue with his future set to be decided in the next fortnight. The Ghana international has had an injury-hit two years but he is back to full fitness and playing with Chelsea's development squad.

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Chelsea also recently rejected a £3m offer from Rostov for in-form Ike Ugbo, who has scored 10 goals in 16 games on loan at Cercle Brugge. The 22-year-old striker will be allowed to leave if an offer of £5m arrives.

Charly Musonda is back in training after a 15-month injury nightmare, but he will have to prove his fitness at Cobham before considering a loan deal.

West Ham's Declan Rice remains Chelsea's primary transfer target, but the Hammers will resist his sale and competition is expected to emerge from the rest of the top six for the England international.

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