Mauricio Pochettino, manager of Chelsea, voiced concern regarding Christopher Nkunku’s knee injury during their 1-1 draw against Borussia Dortmund in Chicago. Nkunku had to be substituted midway through the first half, casting doubt upon his availability for Premier League season opener on August 9.
Pochettino commented on Nkunku’s injury by noting: “His doctors are currently checking him, and hopefully there is nothing major.” He fell in the action, which was maybe a penalty, and he feels something in his knee. We hope he can be back quickly with the team. We need a few days to assess him.”
Nkunku has been impressive during Chelsea’s pre-season matches, and his absence on the pitch was noticeable as the team lost some of its flow after he was substituted. The injury raised questions about the pitch conditions, but Pochettino refrained from blaming it, calling it a stroke of bad luck.
Despite the injury setback, there was some positive news for Chelsea as they finished their pre-season unbeaten. Mason Burstow’s goal canceled out Marius Wolf’s opener in the match against Dortmund. Another bright spot for the team was the performance of Levi Colwill, who recently signed a new long-term contract. Colwill excelled alongside Thiago Silva in central defense, and may get his chance to start against Liverpool.
Pochettino acknowledged there are still areas for Chelsea to strengthen in the squad, particularly midfield. Chelsea are in talks with Brighton regarding a potential transfer for Moises Caicedo from that club. Moreover, Nkunku’s injury might prompt the club to expedite their pursuit of a new striker, with Dusan Vlahovic being a potential target if a deal involving Romelu Lukaku and Juventus materializes.
Apart from the midfield and striking options, Chelsea is also looking to sign Brighton goalkeeper Robert Sánchez and reinforce their attacking midfield department. Nonetheless, Pochettino is cautious about making too many additions and aims to maintain a cohesive team for the upcoming fixtures. The lineup against Dortmund could closely resemble the starting eleven that takes on Liverpool, with the question of who will be named the new captain still open. While Thiago Silva seems like the natural choice, Reece James was given the armband against Dortmund, adding an element of uncertainty to the captaincy decision.
As Chelsea prepare to begin the Premier League season, Pochettino will be hopeful for good news regarding Nkunku’s injury as he evaluates Chelsea’s options to strengthen their squad in key areas. With their league opener against Liverpool quickly approaching, the manager is determined to have a fully fit and competitive squad to launch their campaign off successfully.