Chelsea are in Asia for three friendlies as they prepared for next season, which players will be desperate to stand out in the absence of some first team stars?
Here are five players keen to shine in the next few weeks...
The Senegalese striker was always likely to be a stop gap solution for Chelsea when they signed him from Newcastle United in January, and Ba chipped in with the odd goal in the Blues’ successful second half of the season. However under Jose Mourinho Ba could be on the way out if the Portuguese overhauls his strike-force, and this pre-season might be his only chance to impress the new manager.
Kevin De Bruyne
Mourinho has opted to retain the Belgian midfielder rather than sending him out on loan again after De Bruyne impressed at Werder Bremen last season. No position at Chelsea has more competition for place than their attacking midfield, and given Juan Mata and Oscar’s absence, De Bruyne must demonstrate he is a viable option for the first team next season.
With Marko Marin sent out on loan last month, Moses is perhaps the man with most to prove in Chelsea’s pre-season squad, sitting well down the pecking order in their attacking midfield. The winger has been linked with a loan himself, and if he does not prove his worth in Asia, he might be shipped out of Stamford Bridge when Chelsea return to England.
After a fine year at Real Madrid, Essien will be keen to show he is over his injury problems and ready to claim a place in the centre of Chelsea’s midfield. With John Obi Mikel likely to leave Essien will know there is a first team place up for grabs, and the Ghanaian has to prove Chelsea do not need to sign anyone else.
Like De Bruyne, Lukaku will remain at Stamford Bridge next season after a fine loan spell, but unlike his compatriot, the striker has far more of a chance of claiming a regular first team place given Chelsea’s relative paucity of resources up front. Mourinho is apparently keen to sign another forward this summer, but Lukaku has the opportunity to show that he is ready to be the Portuguese manager’s main man next season.
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