Date: 15th December 2021 at 4:00pm
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Much of Chelsea’s success not only this term, but also in the last 12 months, has been as a result of the performances of the Blues’ backline.

The likes of Antonio Rudiger, Andreas Christensen, Thiago Silva and Cesar Azpilicueta have all been in sensational form, and their defensive stability was key to their Champions League triumph last season.

On the flanks, both Ben Chilwell and Reece James have impressed, particularly of late, having amassed eight goals and six assists between them across all competitions so far this season.

However, Thomas Tuchel was dealt a huge blow last month, as Chilwell was ruled out with an injury like to keep him out for several weeks.

The England international suffered a knee injury in Chelsea’s 4-0 victory over Juventus, and Marcos Alonso has since been deputising at left-back.

The Spaniard has been characteristically inconsistent, giving away a penalty which allowed Raphinha to open the scoring for Leeds United on Saturday, before setting up Mason Mount for the equaliser minutes later.

With Emerson Palmeiri out on loan with French side Lyon, Alonso is Tuchel’s only other option at left wing-back, although Saul Niguez was tried there recently but struggled.

Maatsen could be recalled to provide cover at left-back while Ben Chilwell is sidelined

With that in mind, it has been rumoured that the Blues would recall Ian Maatsen from a loan spell with Coventry City.

The 19-year-old has been impressing in the Championship this season, and made his senior debut for the Blues against Grimsby in 2019.

However, it appears that Barcelona are planning to hijack Chelsea’s plan, by making a move to take Maatsen to Spain.

As per Football Insider, the Catalan giants are eyeing a move for the teenagers in January, as Xavi looks to bolster his squad and add young talent for the future.

Maatsen impressed on loan with League One side Charlton Athletic last season, and his form at The Valley earned him a move to the second tier this year.

He has since made 21 appearances for the Sky Blues, and won the club’s goal of the month award for October for his striker against Fulham, his only goal so far for Coventry.

With the January window fast approaching, Chelsea may have to make a decision quickly as to whether or not they let Maatsen stay out on loan, although it is unlikely that they would let the youngster leave permanently to join Barcelona, such is the regard that he is held in at the club.

Maatsen will be hoping to follow in the footsteps of the likes of James, Mount and Callum Hudson-Odoi, who have all established themselves in the first team squad at Stamford Bridge.

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