CHELSEA were dealt an early blow in their clash with Manchester City when Reece James was forced off the pitch with an apparent injury.
The Blues defender, 21, was forced off the pitch less than half an hour into the crunch, top-of-the-table clash at Stamford Bridge.
James had started the game at right-wing-back and was replaced by Thiago Silva after going down clutching his ankle.
Cesar Azpilicueta was shunted out to a more advanced role on the right having started in a central back-three.
The news comes as a huge blow to Thomas Tuchel.
The German chief is already sweating on the fitness of Mason Mount and Christian Pulisic – both of whom were absent for the Man City clash.
Chelsea may now be forced to travel to Italy for Wednesday night’s Champions League clash against Juventus without James, too.
Speaking after the defeat, Tuchel said: “I don’t know about Reece at the moment. He twisted his ankle and it was very painful for him.
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“I have no other news on him at this stage but let’s see how he is in the next few days.”
Pulisic has been missing with an ankle knock since the last international break after hurting himself while away with the USA.
Mount picked up a knock during the Carabao Cup third-round win over Aston Villa – with neither player yet being given a return date.
Meanwhile, there’s more bad news for Chelsea after Bayern Munich and Juve stepped up their pursuit of Antonio Rudiger.
The German defender, 28, has been among the Blues’ best performers this term.
However, he is out of contract at the end of the season and could negotiate pre-contract deals with European clubs as early as January as things stand.
And both Bayern and Juventus are prepared to TRIPLE Rudiger’s current wages and offer him a staggering £400,000 per week.
Chelsea are believed to have offered Rudiger an extension on similar money – at around £130,000 a week – with the defender considering his options.
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