Chelsea head coach Mauricio Pochettino is planning to reintegrate Marc Cucurella into the first-team picture having hardly featured so far this season.
Cucurella arrived at Stamford Bridge from Brighton & Hove Albion last summer for an initial £55m, with add-ons potentially taking the fee to £62m.
Like many of his new teammates, the Spaniard struggled as Chelsea slumped to a 12th-place finish, cycling their way through four managers before the end of the 2022/23 campaign.
After not being selected by new boss Pochettino for the opening three games of the new Premier League season, 90min reported towards the end of summer transfer window that Manchester United had opened talks with Chelsea about a loan move for Cucurella.
However, Cucurella was then named in the starting lineup for the Blues’ Carabao Cup second round win against AFC Wimbledon, cup-tying him for the season. United then opted to sign Sergio Reguilon on loan from Tottenham Hotspur instead.
Cucurella’s only other appearance this season came in a 1-0 victory against former side Brighton in round three of the Carabao Cup last week and he is still yet to play a Premier League minute this term.
However, an injury to Ben Chilwell could open the door to Cucurella to play a more prominent role in the coming weeks, while he played at right-back in Wednesday’s win against Brighton.
Speaking about how close Cucurella came to leaving Chelsea, Pochettino said: “I don’t know because I wasn’t involved in this situation, that was more the sporting director, the [player’s] agent and the club.
“After, when the transfer window closed, we were talking in my office. We were really clear about how I see and assess him and I listened to his feelings. Of course, it was a difficult time for him after he arrived from Brighton. It was tough, not only for him, but many, many players.
“That’s why we need to give confidence and trust in him. He is our player and I think he was really good against Brighton on Wednesday playing on the right-hand side.
“I think he was doing well and I am so happy about his performance and commitment. That’s what we expect from our players.
“Now, it is about working, waiting for the opportunity and working really hard. It is a really clear situation, he is in our plan. If he deserves to play, he will play.”
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