With Chelsea being handed a two-window transfer ban the question that is quickly being asked – how are they going to compete over the coming year?

The club will be unable to bring in new additions to supplement a squad that is already struggling to keep pace with rivals Liverpool and Manchester City but with Manchester United also in resurgent form, it could be a tough season in 2019/20 for the Blues – although an appeal could result in a delayed ban, allowing the club to purchase players this summer.

They have lost three of the last four games in the Premier League and have conceded 12 goals in that run to put qualification for the Champions League via a top-four finish in real doubt.

Even the future of manager Maurizio Sarri has been questioned by a number of pundits and fans as the Italian appears to lack the flexibility needed to mould his squad into a consistent, winning outfit.

If he is to remain in the post, he will need to find a way to utilise some of the young talent that the Stamford Bridge club already have within their system.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Andreas Christensen stand out as Chelsea graduates that have all-but secured their place in Sarri’s thoughts at least.

With that in mind, we have compiled a list of eight academy players that the powers that be at Stamford  Bridge will need to trust if they are to remain relevant in the race for the top four next season.

1. Reece James

Age: 19

Position: Right-back

Current situation: On loan at Wigan Athletic

Senior Chelsea appearances: None

The defender has been on loan at Wigan Athletic and has all the attributes to succeed even – at the very least as an immediate back-up for Azpilicueta.

James is a natural right-back but Wigan have utilised the player’s versatility and technical prowess this season by deploying him in the centre of midfield in recent games. He has one goal and one assist this season and has excelled for Paul Cook’s side despite their struggles.

The 19-year-old has played more league minutes than any other player in the Latic’s squad, putting in more crosses per game (1.5) while also leading the side in chances created per game (1.5) as well. Not bad for a young man in a side that contains players like Josh Windass and Nick Powell.

James was named Wigan Player of the Month for three consecutive months towards the end of 2018; Chelsea must not let his clear talent go to waste – regardless of the ban.

Potential squad role: Rotation

2. Tammy Abraham

Age: 21

Position: Striker

Current situation: On loan at Aston Villa

Senior Chelsea appearances: 3

The striker has found his feet at Villa Park this season coming off a disappointing campaign with Swansea in the Premier League.

20 goals in just 28 appearances in all competitions for Villa suggest that Abraham could push for a regular spot in the Chelsea line-up. With the ban now in force, they could do a lot worse than look at a player ripping it up in the Championship –

It is true that he struggled last season for Swansea, netting just eight times in 41 appearances as the Welsh outfit got relegated from the Premier League, but playing in a more attacking side has helped him flourish.

Chelsea haven’t got any natural goal scorers in their current line-up with Eden Hazard currently topping the chart with 15 goals. Abraham would give them another option even if Sarri chose not to make the England international the first-choice number nine – he could at least spearhead the side in European competition should they stay in the Europa League.

Potential squad role: First-team

3. Trevoh Chalobah

Age: 19

Position: Centre-back or midfield

Current situation: On loan at Ipswich Town

Senior Chelsea appearances: None

Trevoh Chalobah might see the transfer ban as welcome news given that it could open up an opportunity for the 19-year-old to get a look in at Stamford Bridge.

His time at Ipswich has not been an enjoyable one with the Tractor Boys sat plumb bottom of the Championship and seemingly destined for relegation to the third tier.

Chalobah’s development, however, has been one of the very few positives at Portman Road.

Perhaps one of the furthest away from making a dent in the Chelsea first team in this article, his ability to seamlessly swap between defence and midfield would add valuable versatility to Maurizio Sarri’s squad.

His penchant for long-ranged passes from deep could also interest Sarri given how he asks David Luiz to play.

Potential squad role: Reserve

4. Callum Hudson-Odoi

Age: 18

Position: Winger

Current situation: Current squad-player

Senior Chelsea appearances: 18

If there is one academy player that should become key to Chelsea’s success next season it is Callum Hudson-Odoi. The winger is already on the fringes of the first team having made 18 appearances for the senior side.

Still only 18, he needs to be playing some minutes to continue his development and a ban on bringing in new players may well be music to his ears.

With Bayern Munich reportedly offering £35m for the player in January there is clearly a lot of attention on the English starlet but Sarri was very definite about wanting to keep the player at the club.

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The Italian coach sees huge potential in the winger and has already marked him out as one of the stars of the future.

“He’s a very good player, the potential is for becoming a great player, and now he has to improve,” Sarri told the BBC back in January.

“He has to improve, I think, in movement without the ball.

“As a winger, he has to improve in the defensive phase, but he has the potential to become a very important player, not only for English football I think but for European football.”

His ability has been clear to see in the limited time he has been given this season including notching two assists in Chelsea’s FA Cup victory over Nottingham Forest.

If Hudson-Odoi gets the chance he deserves then he might just be a player that is equal or better than a new signing anyway – one to watch in 2019/20.

Potential squad role: Key player

5. Mason Mount

Age: 20

Position: Midfield

Current situation: On loan at Derby County

Senior Chelsea appearances: None

Mason Mount has thrived under the guidance of former Chelsea midfielder, Frank Lampard, at Derby. The England U21 international has produced moments of exceptional quality for the Rams this season showing his natural creative ability.

In fact, he has created more chances per game (2.1) than any other Derby player this season while banging in four goals and notching two assists.

He would make an excellent squad player given what he has produced this season, albeit at a lower level and could push players like Ross Barkley and Ruben Loftus-Cheek for a regular place in Sarri’s favoured midfield three – especially if Mateo Kovacic does not return.

Potential squad role: Squad player

6. Ethan Ampadu

Age: 18

Position: Centre-back

Current situation: Chelsea U23

Senior Chelsea appearances: 12

Ethan Ampadu has looked accomplished in senior football ever since he first appeared for Exeter City at the tender age of just 15. He was soon snapped up by Chelsea as the Premier League club saw the massive potential in the young Welshman.

Since signing for the London club, he has proved what a mature player he can be. Playing for the Chelsea U21 side in the EFL Trophy, he has shown tremendous leadership against much more physically imposing opponents.

He led his side to the semi-final of the competition last season where they only missed out on the final following a semi-final loss on penalties to Lincoln City.

Ampadu is already on the fringes of the first team having made 12 senior appearances and should be looked upon not only as a player that can make an immediate contribution but also someone the club can develop into a future star and potential captain.

Next season could well see the Welsh international make a big impression at Chelsea – whether that be as a deputy to Jorginho or alongside Rüdiger of David Luiz in defence.

Potential squad role: Rotation

7. Marcin Bulka

Age: 19

Position: Goalkeeper

Current situation: Chelsea U23

Senior Chelsea appearances: None

The Polish prodigy could be Chelsea’s next goalkeeping hope after being on the fringes of the first team during pre-season. He is yet to make an appearance for the senior side but, like Ethan Ampadu, was a key member of the Chelsea U21 side that progressed all the way to the semi-final of the EFL Trophy in 2017/18.

Considered to be very agile and imposing at 6ft 5” he will hope to continue his development and make the next step up following a good campaign at U23 level.

He is unlikely to feature as a starter but may be chosen as a back-up to Kepa Arrizabalaga for 2019/20 given the fact that Willy Caballero will turn 38 in September this year, whilst 36-year-old Eduardo is currently on loan at Vitesse.

Given the uncertainty surrounding his future, however, being Kepa’s back-up may not be enough.

Potential squad role: Back-up

8. Jay Dasilva

Age: 20

Position: Left-back

Current situation: On loan at Bristol City

Senior Chelsea appearances: None

The 20-year-old left-back has cut his cloth in the EFL with loan spells at both Charlton and now Bristol City.

Playing under a progressive manager like Lee Johnson has helped the youngster develop at a club whose style is not that dissimilar to Chelsea’s.

If he was to be in and around the Chelsea squad next season it is more than likely to be in a back-up role to give cover for Marcos Alonso and Emerson Palmieri.

When Bristol City signed the full-back on loan, Johnson was very excited about his potential.

“I am very excited about what Jay will bring to the squad,” Johnson told Bristol City‘s official club website.

“He has already achieved a lot for such a young player and we believe in his ability to step up again in what is a tough and increasingly competitive league.”

Dasilva has one assist in his 15 appearances this season and has a pass completion rate of 80.7%, the highest of any player in the squad to have played 10 games or more.

He clearly has a bright future in the game but whether Sarri will bring him into the fold next season remains to be seen.

There is also the possibility that Bristol City activates their option to buy Dasilva following his loan spell, ending his seven-year association with Chelsea in the process.

Potential squad role: Back-up

Chelsea’s academy is full of excellent prospects and the likes of George McEachran and Daishawn Redan are also amongst those that could make a breakthrough in the next campaign or two.

It is likely that these two will head out on loan to get some more experience next season but while a transfer ban may be bad news for the club, the young players on the cusp of the senior squad will certainly see the silver lining.

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