Chelsea have plenty of absentees for tomorrow’s Capital One Cup semi-final clash with Swansea City. Newly returned Yossi Benayoun joins Petr Cech as doubtful for the game, and Terry and Romeu are definitely out. Victor Moses and John Obi Mikel have now left for the African Cup of Nations, so are also unavailable for the Blues.
Swansea are missing only Neil Taylor, who is out for the season, and manager Michael Laudrup hopes his side can benefit form being at home in the second leg of the semi-final.
There is some good news on the injury front however, as John Terry could return as soon as the weekend’s match at Stoke. Terry, who was injured in the 1-1 draw with Liverpool in November, will play for the U21 side against Fulham on Thursday to aid his rehabilitation.
Rafa Benitez has said that Fernando Torres and Demba Ba will have to fight it out to be the number one striker at Stamford Bridge, and that he is pleased to have more options in his squad:
“There’s no rule about one playing in this game and the other in the next. I’ve spoken to Fernando a lot and with Demba and they know what I am expecting of them.”
Benitez has also previously suggested the two could pair up on occasion, but whether this would be a good idea is another question as examined here on HITC.
The Chelsea manager also said that he was happy with the focus Frank Lampard has shown amongst the various transfer speculation about the midfielder’s future, but remained tight-lipped about what could happen with the player. Luka Modric is one man who Chelsea might line up as a potential replacement for Lampard if he leaves in the summer.
Chelsea target Taison has reportedly returned to Brazil amid rumours his switch to the Blues has been derailed after the club refused to meet Metalist’s £11 million valuation of the players. The move might still be resurrected, but Manchester City could be poised to intervene and make a bid for the player if there is a chance he could be lured away from Chelsea.
In other transfer news there have been reports that Chelsea and Arsenal have been put on alert after it was revealed that Everton’s Marouane Fellaini has a £22 million release clause in his contract. The clause can only be used by clubs competing in the Champions League, with Chelsea long term admirers of the Belgian.
Finally, Chelsea are said to be readying bids for teenage strikers Hervin Ongenda and Marko Dabro. 17 year old Ongenda is at PSG, whilst 15 year old Dabro is at Croatian side Cibalia..
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