Frank Lampard has revealed why Antonio Rudiger and Ruben Loftus-Cheek were both left out of Chelsea's 6-0 win over Barnsley in the Carabao Cup, which casts further doubt on their future after a £220 million ($280m) summer of spending.
The defender is yet to make a matchday squad this season and has dropped below Fikayo Tomori in the pecking order. This comes after the west Londoners have ignored loan interest from Everton and Rennes in their academy product.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek, likewise, was fit to play against Barnsley but he was left out as other fringe players like Callum Hudson-Odoi, Tammy Abraham, Tomori, Emerson Palmieri and Ross Barkley were given run-outs.
Lampard explained the situation and he is open to seeing his squad reduced with so many players set to struggle for minutes after a host of high profile signings.
“The situation with both is that they weren’t in the squad," Lampard said at Stamford Bridge after his side's third-round cup win. "I had a similar answer from the other day; they just weren’t in the squad. That is just a choice at the moment.
“Again with the centre-halves I can’t have them all in the squad. I keep getting asked about the size of the squad. There might be movement, we know that, but nothing is concrete so don’t read too much into those selections at the minute.
"It will have to be things which are right for the club and individuals and me and in terms of what happens in the next couple of weeks.”
The transfer window is set to close on October 5 and the pair could ask for moves, along with Hudson-Odoi who is growing frustrated with his reduced role.
The 19-year-old completed 90 minutes in the cup but he had just played 203 minutes since English football restarted after the coronavirus lockdown and he had started just one other match.
Inter are hopeful that Chelsea will lower their asking price closer to the transfer deadline and may even ask to take the Italy international on loan with an option to buy instead of doing a permanent deal.
The Blues are still trying to offload a host of former loanees including Tiemoue Bakayoko, Danny Drinkwater and Baba Rahman as they look likely to have finished their incoming transfers.
West Ham's Declan Rice is a key target for Lampard but they might have to wait to bring in the defensive midfielder as their local rivals remain reluctant to sell him. Chelsea have signed Kai Havertz, Timo Werner, Ben Chilwell, Thiago Silva, Malang Sarr and Hakim Ziyech.
Edouard Mendy's £22m move from Rennes has been completed after a medical on Tuesday and it is set to be announced on Thursday as the club's sixth signing of the season.
“I think the medical is done and complete. I want to be a bit careful with that. I don’t want to give absolute confirmation, but possibly over the next 24 hours. It seems like one which is done,” Lampard added after his side got through to the fourth round of the Carabao Cup.