CHELSEA boss Graham Potter is set to leave £116.5MILLION worth of talent out of his Champions League knockout squad.
And that includes FOUR of the Blues' new January signings, who may not play in Europe's top club competition for 18 months.
Then to top it off, Potter looks on course to add insult to injury for unwanted winger Hakim Ziyech by telling the Morrocan he is being booted OUT of the 25 who can play against Borussia Dortmund later this month.
Chelsea spent a British record fee of £107m to capture Argentina ace Enzo Fernandez.
He arrived at the 11th hour on deadline day to follow Ukrainian winger Mykhailo Mudryk, French defender Benoit Badiashile, Ivorian striker David Datro Fofana, English winger Noni Madueke and teenage Brazilian Andrey Santos alongside loan capture from Atletico Madrid Joao Felix.
But Uefa’s Champions League regulations only allow clubs to change THREE of their senior list of players for the knockout stage.
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And with none of the arrivals meeting the requirements to go on the 'List B' of junior players – meaning Charlie Webster, Lewis Hall and injured Armando Broja will remain on that list – Potter faces the unenviable task of having to give the bad news to the unlucky quartet.
It seems likely that Fernandez, Mudryk and Felix will be the trio given the green light with Chelsea having to hand Uefa the updated squad list by midnight on Thursday.
The departure of Jorginho to Arsenal means Chelsea have 23 senior players currently registered, but adding the three new names forces one player to be excluded.
And while his proposed loan move to PSG fell through to mean he will stay at Chelsea for the rest of the season, Ziyech appears the most likely casualty.
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That means Ziyech will likely join January arrivals Fofana, Madueke, Badiashile and Santos in watching their team-mates in Champions League action from the sidelines.
The unlucky group is completed by 18-year-old goalkeeper Gabriel Slonina who has now linked up with Chelsea after spending the first half of the season back on loan with Chicago Fire.
Ziyech is valued at £18m, Fofana cost £10.5m, Santos was £11m and Slonina arrived for £7m.
On top of that, the Blues shelled out a whopping £35m each on Badiashile and Madueke, totalling the massive £116.5m.
Chelsea look in serious doubt of failing to qualify for the Champions League next season.
They currently sit tenth in the Premier League, ten points off the top four, so either need a dramatic turnaround in domestic form or go on and win the Champions League for the second time in three years to guarantee their place in the 2023-24 competition.
Chelsea’s likely updated Champions League 2022-23 squad
GOALKEEPERS: Kepa Arrizabalaga, Marcus Betinelli, Edouard Mendy
DEFENDERS: Thiago Silva, Trevoh Chalobah, Ben Chilwell, Reece James, Kalidou Koulibaly, Cesar Azpilicueta, Marc Cucurella, Wesley Fofana
MIDFIELDERS: N'Golo Kante, Mateo Kovacic, Christian Pulisic, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Raheem Sterling, Mason Mount, Denis Zakaria, Conor Gallagher, Carney Chukwuemeka, Enzo Fernandez
FORWARDS: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Kai Havertz, Joao Felix, Mykhailo Mudryk
LIST B: Charlie Webster, Lewis Hall, Armando Broja
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