Moises Caicedo, Christopher Nkunku, Romeo Lavia latest news and return dates

Chelsea’s fitness problems are easing as summer signing Christopher Nkunku continues to work towards making his debut.

The striker was deemed not fit enough to face Newcastle as Nicolas Jackson again toiled up front, but will be working hard in training this week to face Brighton at the weekend.

Moises Caicedo and Romeo Lavia were also missing at St James’ Park, with the former not risked and the latter still lacking match fitness after injuries. Malo Gusto is back in training, but three further defenders are little closer to returning.

Here’s all the latest Chelsea injuries…

Christopher Nkunku

Summer signing Christopher Nkunku is edging ever closer to making his debut for the club.

Nkunku has been training individually and could yet prove his fitness in time to face Brighton. Last week, he posted a picture of his involvement in a Chelsea training session to further hint at this imminent return.

Pochettino said last week: “Last week he was only involved in a few training sessions, still it is not a full recovery to be part of the tactical session. Now is about recovering from his injury.

“We need to understand that he comes from an injury so he needs time. We’re going to need to be patient with him to start to compete, play and discover again the competition.”

He added: “Then it’s not a competition that he was normally used to playing and he can recover the feelings from last season or the season before. He is a player who came from the Bundesliga and he needs now not only to recover from his injury, but get to know the league. He’s going to need time to perform at his best.”

Potential return date: Sunday, December 3 vs Brighton

Christopher Nkunku is back in training (Chelsea FC via Getty Images)

Moises Caicedo

Caicedo was deemed not fit enough to face Newcastle after returning back from international duty late, so was unable to train much before the trip to St James’ Park.

Pochettino said, given the size of Chelsea’s squad, it was unnecessary to risk Caicedo’s fitness. With no European game this week, Caicedo should have plenty of opportunity to return to full fitness before facing Brighton.

Pochettino said last week: “We need to manage his minutes carefully. He only arrived back [on Friday] from international duty with Ecuador and has only had one training session, so we felt it was best that we avoid any possible problems and just be careful with him with so many games ahead.

“This is why we have a big squad, so we can use the players. We do not want to force players to play when they are maybe not in complete perfect condition, so Moises not starting is just to avoid any risk.”

Potential return date: Sunday, December 3 vs Brighton

Romeo Lavia

The midfielder is another who is yet to make his debut for the club after arriving during the summer transfer window.

It had been hoped the midfielder would return before the international break but in October suffered a setback in his rehabilitation after an ankle injury.

The weekend game against Brighton remains a faint possibility for his first minutes, with Lavia also training on the grass during the break.

Pochettino said last week: “Lavia and Nkunku are still out. There is no timeframe for them, it is difficult to say because we need to assess them day-by-day. They are in a good condition.”

Potential return date: December 2024

Romeo Lavia is still yet to make his Chelsea debut (Chelsea FC via Getty Images)

Malo Gusto

Malo Gusto withdrew from the France Under-21 squad during the international break but returned to training last week.

He was not involved in the matchday squad at Newcastle, but is expected to be fit with him being required to deputise for Reece James following the captain’s red card.

Potential return date: Sunday, December 3 vs Brighton

After starting the season as a key player under Pochettino, England international Ben Chilwell suffered another hamstring injury during a Carabao Cup win over Brighton in September.

As such, he is not expected back before mid-December.

Pochettino said in October: “I can not tell you [when he will be back]. It is difficult to know. He is away from the training ground now and we will wait for him to come back to see the situation. Hopefully, he can recover as soon as possible.”

Potential return date: December 2023

Ben Chilwell faces a few more weeks on the sidelines (Chelsea FC via Getty Images)

Young midfielder Carney Chukwuemeka was another to have started the season but that has since been disrupted by injury.

The 20-year-old suffered a setback in his return from a knee problem, making his return date unclear.

Potential return date: Unknown

Seemingly frozen out of the fold after being linked with a move away from the club in the summer, defender Trevoh Chalobah recently hit a setback in his recovery from a thigh problem.

Potential return date: Unknown

It had seemed hugely unlikely that Wesley Fofana would play at all this season after suffering a long-term knee injury, but has got back on the grass to begin individual training.

His rehab appears to be on the right track. Pochettino said last week: “It was nice to see him running on the grass. For him it’s a massive motivation to be there, and I think for us also to see him after a long time away from the pitch.

“It is good that he can start to feel the grass, but I don’t know when he will be ready to help the team. I think it will be next year.”

Potential return date: First half of 2024


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