Chelsea are less than a week away from their next match-up: a home fixture against West Bromwich Albion on Saturday, April 3.
With the likes of Christian Pulisic, Ben Chilwell and Mason Mount starring for their respective nations in the international break, the latest signs depict both good news and bad news for Chelsea.
A host of these talents are proving their consistency week after week, but the sheer workload of the players threatens their long-term fitness. Meanwhile, Chelsea continue to be linked with players in the transfer market, in what is expected to be a crucial window to their fortunes under Thomas Tuchel.
On that note, we list the top news stories and rumours surrounding Chelsea on March 28, 2021.
Reece James highlights Chelsea skipper Azpilicueta's importance
Under Frank Lampard, it was always either Cesar Azpilicueta or Reece James starting at right-back, with the latter getting the nod over the club captain more often than not.
However, in this new-look Chelsea side, Azpilicueta marshalls the team as a centre-half, while James is deployed as a wing-back.
Speaking on the importance of his skipper and co-full back, James told Chelsea's official website:
“Yeah, of course. He’s been at the club for a number of years and is a club legend. Playing in front of him is great and knowing I’ve got him behind me is a very good feeling as well. I always feel safe and secure on the pitch. Ever since I came into the senior squad, right from the start, he’s always been supporting and helping and guiding me and he still does that now."
James also concluded by revealing that the rotation policy helps players and enhances healthy competition within Chelsea.
Juventus to offer Alex Sandro to lure Chelsea's Emerson
Emerson has been sidelined even after Tuchel's arrival at Chelsea. Understandably, the 26-year-old has been linked with a few Italian clubs, including Juventus and Napoli.
According to Tuttosport (via Tribal Football), Juventus are set to use Alex Sandro as a makeshift in a proposed swap deal with Chelsea. Whether the Blues are tempted by the offer remains in doubt but it could improve their chances of signing one of the better left-backs in European football when on song.
The Chelsea full-back has been reduced to just two Premier League appearances this season.
Rio Ferdinand labels Rudiger as a leader for Chelsea
No other player, perhaps, has revived himself like Antonio Rudiger since Chelsea switched to three at the back.
The centre-half has been crucial to the club's record of 12 clean sheets in 14 games under Tuchel. Rio Ferdinand, one of the finest of his generation at the heart of defence, believes Rudiger is a true leader. He said:
"I watched Rudiger against Leeds and Atletico Madrid, the intensity with which he's playing right now is what you need to be a top player. You can see it, he's screaming at players, he makes a block, and he stands up and he gets into the face of the attacker."
Lavishing praise on the Chelsea defender's concentration, Ferdinand added:
"I witnessed it and I was like 'woah he is on it. He isn't getting beaten by anyone at the moment the way that he's on it and concentrating."