Chelsea head coach Thomas Tuchel has suggested midfielder Ross Barkley could be allowed to leave the club on loan this month.
Cup appearances aside, Barkley has barely featured since early November, getting just 151 minutes of Premier League action so far this season. He was widely expected to leave the club in the summer but ultimately remained at Stamford Bridge when a suitor could not be found.
The 28-year-old came off the bench on Saturday evening in the Blues' 5-1 thumping of National League Chesterfield in the FA Cup third round. He didn't exactly seize the opportunity, although he did go close with one curling effort from the edge of the penalty area.
Speaking about Barkley's outlook for the rest of the season ahead of the match, Chelsea boss Tuchel said: “We haven’t discussed it yet [loan deal]. It depends what Ross wants and what possibilities there are and what makes sense. Let’s see.
"There’s always a chance it is not like it is the FA Cup and here’s your chance. There’s always a chance to make it onto the pitch, especially with a lot of Covid and injury cases.
"The situation has not changed, not for Ross, not for anybody else."
Speaking after the Chesterfield victory, Tuchel acknowledged the need for quality rotation options, adding: "We have tough matches coming up.
"It is a different level of intensity if you play Premier League teams or against a fifth division team. It was important to share the minutes and give some players rest to be in the best shape possible for the upcoming games.
"Let’s see. We have to constantly adapt because the situation can change any day with the testing, and from there we go."