Connect with us


Olympics threatens to disrupt Chelsea pre-season preparations

Chelsea are facing a major dilemma ahead of next season as several of their promising youngsters could receive Olympic call-ups this summer, according to Standard Sport.

The men’s football tournament at the Paris Games runs from July 24 to August 10, just a week before the Premier League kicks off, and it could jeopardise Chelsea’s preparation for the new season.

The Under-23s tournament allows each nation to include three over-age players, and Chelsea’s focus on youth recruitment could backfire. 

Right-back Malo Gusto has been a standout performer for the Blues this season. But he will likely be called up by hosts France, who are determined to field their strongest possible squad under the lead of legendary striker Thierry Henry.

Adding to Chelsea’s woes, Benoit Badiashile, Lesley Ugochukwu, and Wesley Fofana are also eligible for France. 

Argentina and Ukraine could also come calling for Enzo Fernandez and Mykhailo Mudryk. Losing any of these key youngsters would significantly disrupt Chelsea’s pre-season plans.

The clubs hold the power to veto call-ups for non-FIFA tournaments, but a player’s desire to represent their country at the Olympics could create friction. 

The lure of a gold medal on home soil, potentially alongside Kylian Mbappe if he’s convinced to be one of France’s over-age players, will undoubtedly be strong for the French contingent at Chelsea.

Chelsea have a pre-season tour of the United States scheduled for late July, which will directly clash with the Olympics. 

The West Londoners have announced three crucial pre-season games so far. First, Chelsea will clash with Wrexham on Wednesday, July 24, at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California.

They will face Celtic on July 27 at the Notre Dame Stadium in Indiana before taking on Club America on July 31 at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia.

With a crucial season ahead, manager Mauricio Pochettino will hope to find a solution that balances the club’s needs with the ambitions of his young stars.

More in Chelsea