Injury woes and transfer speculation cloud young Chelsea midfielder's future

Chelsea FC v Everton FC - Premier League
Chelsea FC v Everton FC - Premier League / Marc Atkins/GettyImages

Carney Chukwuemeka faces an uncertain future at Stamford Bridge this summer. The talented youngster, who joined the Blues from Aston Villa two years ago for £20 million, has struggled with injuries since his arrival, hindering his progress and raising questions about his long-term prospects at the club.

Chukwuemeka burst onto the scene at Aston Villa, making his Premier League debut under Dean Smith in the final minutes of a 2-1 win over Tottenham at the end of the 2020/21 season. He went on to make 12 appearances in the following campaign, showcasing his potential as a rising star in English football.

However, contract negotiations with Villa broke down, and Chukwuemeka was left out of the club's pre-season tour of Australia, paving the way for his £20 million move to Chelsea.

Since his arrival at Chelsea, Chukwuemeka has been beset by injuries, severely limiting his impact on the pitch. Last season, he made only nine Premier League appearances, starting just twice. Despite these setbacks, Chelsea continue to hold the midfielder in high regard and believe his value has appreciated since his transfer from Villa.

Chukwuemeka's promising start to the season under Mauricio Pochettino, which included his first goal for the club against West Ham, was cut short by a knee injury that restricted him to just 12 appearances in all competitions. This latest setback has cast further doubt on his future at Stamford Bridge, especially with the arrival of Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall from Leicester for £30 million, adding to the competition for the attacking midfield role.

AC Milan have expressed interest in signing Chukwuemeka this summer, but Chelsea's stance on the matter is clear: senior players will either leave on a permanent basis or remain at the club, with only academy and under-21 players available for loan. The Athletic reports that Chelsea have dismissed any notion of entertaining loan offers that include an option to buy, underscoring their belief in Chukwuemeka's potential and their reluctance to let him go on a temporary basis.

However, the strong working relationship between Milan and Chelsea, evidenced by recent deals involving Christian Pulisic, Olivier Giroud, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, and Fikayo Tomori, could facilitate a move for Chukwuemeka.

Chukwuemeka's future remains one of the key storylines to watch as the summer transfer window progresses. He will have the opportunity to impress new Chelsea manager Enzo Maresca on the pre-season tour of America later this month, which could be crucial in determining his future with the club.

With interest from AC Milan and increased competition within the squad, the coming weeks will be pivotal for the young midfielder. Chelsea's decision to either retain or sell him will undoubtedly have significant implications for the player.