Chelsea: Benoit Badiashile to miss start of next season in blow to Mauricio Pochettino plans
Mauricio Pochettino’s plans at Chelsea have suffered an early setback, with defender Benoit Badiashile expected to miss the start of next season due to a groin injury.
Badiashile missed yesterday’s 1-0 defeat at Manchester City after pulling up in training last week and was due to undergo surgery today that could keep him out for up to four months.
Losing Badiashile for the start of his Chelsea rebuild is a blow for Pochettino, who is finalising his appointment and sees pre-season as a crucial time to implement his methods and philosophy on the squad.
Badiashile has made an encouraging start to his Chelsea career following his £35million January move from Monaco and has been targeting an important role in the team next season.
Chelsea left the 22-year-old France international out of their Champions League squad and he then found himself behind Trevoh Chalobah and Wesley Fofana, as interim manager Frank Lampard prioritised players who were able to play in Europe.
But Badiashile has impressed when he has played and is seen as a key player for the future.
The injury to Badiashile could present an opportunity for Levi Colwill, who is due to return to Chelsea next season after an impressive loan spell at Brighton this season.
Colwill is also a left-footed centre-back and Pochettino is thought to have been impressed by the 20-year-old, who is expected to pushing for an England call-up next season.
Without European football next season, it was not clear if Badiashile and Colwill could coexist in the Chelsea squad.
Colwill has attracted interest from Manchester City, Liverpool and Brighton, but Pochettino is unlikely to want to lose him now Badiashile is out.
Badiashile joins Mason Mount, Reece James, N’Golo Kante, Mateo Kovacic and Ben Chilwell on the sidelines and Chelsea are looking to address their injury problems this season.
Players have been left concerned about the level of the medical department, following a mass overhaul of backroom staff by new owners Todd Boehly and Clearlake Capital.
Long-serving medical chiefs Thierry Laurent and Paco Biosca departed last year, and some players felt the upheaval in the medical department was partly to blame for an injury crisis that hit the squad before the World Cup.
Private physiotherapy firm Remedy led major changes to the department in September. Chelsea have also brought in Fearghal Kerin from Leinster Rugby and Dave Fevre as a consultant, and further changes are expected.
The wide-scale staff changes are viewed as a factor in Chelsea’s poor season. In October, then-manager Graham Potter said: “Clearly, we want to always try to improve, and that’s an area we can probably improve.”