Chelsea receives a significant double injury boost against Preston with Ben Chilwell’s return and a clear promise made
Chelsea defender Wesley Fofana has sent a promise to fans as he continues to work back from yet another long-term injury. The centre-back hasn’t played a game yet for the Blues this season and may well miss the rest of the campaign after suffering an ACL blow on the cusp of pre-season.
Fofana was out for a large portion of last season with knee problems after arriving from Leicester for over £69million but is yet to hit full stride at Stamford Bridge. With himself and Trevoh Chalobah missing extended periods of the season Chelsea have dipped into the transfer market to sign Axel Disasi whilst they are now looking at Nice’s Jean-Clair Todibo, football.london understands.
However, Fofana is rated as one of the best young defenders on the planet and will be targetting a consistent first team spot when he returns, especially if Thiago Silva is to leave at the end of his current one-year deal. For now, though, it is the 39-year-old in action every week whilst Fofana works his way back gradually in the new year.
He has been updating supporters on his progress throughout, often posting images of himself in the gym or training at Cobham online. Now though he has responded to a Fofana fan page on Instagram with a message that will please those waiting to chant his name once more.
“The best is yet to come [timer and blue heart emoji]” he wrote on his story. The page had put an image of Fofana up, writing themselves: “[Translated] Life has hit you a few times. She showed you things you didn’t want to see. You felt sadness and failure, but one thing is sure you always got back up. The situation you are in is not your final destination, the best is yet to come.”
For Fofana he will be hopeful of getting back to his best in 2024 and Mauricio Pochettino will be too. For now the Blues are set to welcome Ben Chilwell into the side before Fofana.
The 27-year-old hasn’t played since picking up another hamstring injury during the Carabao Cup tie against Brighton in September. There had been optimism at the time that he would be back by December, but given his poor record with fitness in recent years he is being carefully managed.
Chilwell is now back in full team training though and could be in with a shot at featuring in some capacity against Preston on Saturday. The Blues welcome Championship opposition to Stamford Bridge in the third round of the FA Cup looking to continue a 100% record in domestic cups this season. They also face Middlesbrough twice in the coming weeks in the semi-final of the Carabao Cup.
These matches provide a perfect chance for Chilwell to make his return. Carney Chukwuemeka is also likely to be in the mix to play having come back to training himself. He hasn’t played since the second game of the season away to West Ham.
Chelsea will be wary of bringing their returning stars back too soon, though, after losing both Romeo Lavia and Lesley Ugochukwu shortly after they came back from time out.