Chelsea have already served half of the sentence imposed by FIFA over breaches of transfer rules relating to international minors and were unable to register new players over the summer.
As things stand, the club still won’t be able to add to their squad until next summer as the initial ban was for two transfer windows. However, there is still hope at Stamford Bridge that an ongoing appeal process might see it cut by half to just one window.
Real Madrid were successful in getting a similar ban halved, and that would allow Chelsea to dip into the transfer market to strengthen a struggling squad as early as this coming January.
New manager Frank Lampard has tried to reinvigorate the squad with youngsters, seemingly out of necessity as well as choice, handing opportunities to Mason Mount, Tammy Abraham and Fikayo Tomori, all of whom impressed on loan in the Championship last season.
But with game-changer Eden Hazard gone and the rest of the squad looking a little stale, Chelsea have struggled this season and have won only one Premier League game.
And while scoring goals hasn’t been the issue – Chelsea have managed six in their last three games – conceding them has, with only Norwich leaking more in the whole Premier League.
That is seemingly where the gossip concerning Nice talent Youcef Atal comes in, although an attacking right back is hardly likely to relieve the growing pressure at centre back.
Either way, the Daily Mail alleges that Chelsea are interested in the 23-year-old, who is already valued at £35m, despite only arriving in France last season.
He is an Algeria international and was part of the country’s 2019 Africa Cup of Nations winning squad over the summer.