In pictures: Aston Villa v Chelsea
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Chelsea have been rocked by the news that star wing-back Ben Chilwell will need to undergo surgery after sustaining a knee injury last month. The England international has been out of action since being forced off during his side’s 4-0 thrashing of Juventus in the Champions League.
“After a knee injury in the match against Juventus the Chelsea medical department, in collaboration with their knee specialist, took the decision to attempt a conservative rehab approach,” read a statement on the Blues website on Tuesday.
“Unfortunately Ben was unable to progress and so collectively the decision has been taken to proceed this week with a surgical repair.”
Chilwell had been in fine form for the west Londoners before injury struck after he had managed to wrestle his place back from Marcos Alonso.
The Spain international had started the campaign as Chelsea’s first-choice on the left side of the pitch after Chilwell had returned to the club later than his team-mate after being part of England’s Euro 2020 squad.
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Chilwell went on to make 12 appearances this season, notching three goals and an assist, before suffering the injury setback.
And the Blues could be without the 25-year-old for the rest of the season.
Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel could now be forced to delve into the transfer market to ensure his squad is strong enough to stay in the Premier League title race.
According to The Guardian, Tuchel could turn his attentions to securing a loan move for Everton left-back Lucas Digne.
Digne has fallen out of favour under Rafa Benitez and has been left out of the Toffees squad for their last three matches.
Speculation is rife that the France international will depart Goodison Park in January, with Stamford Bridge appearing to be a realistic destination for the player.
Earlier this month, Chelsea were also rumoured to be interested in signing AC Milan’s Theo Hernandez.
Hernandez, 24, has been in scintillating form this season and is regarded as one of the best left-backs in the world.
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Alternatively, the Blues could look to recall Ian Maatsen or Emerson Palmieri from their loan spells.
Maatsen is currently impressing for Championship side Coventry City, while Emerson is enjoying a temporary spell in France with Lyon.
Emerson would appear to be the most likely of the duo to return to Stamford Bridge, due to his experience levels.
The 27-year-old started for Italy when they beat England in the final of Euro 2020 in the summer.
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