Why Chelsea might not be in Europe next season even if they win the League Cup

The Pride of London explain why Chelsea might not compete in European competition in the 2024/25 season - even if they beat Liverpool in the the League Cup Final. In addition to talking about that story, PoL also speak on injured Blues star Reece James's rehabilitation and guess at his potential return date from the available information.
UEFA Europa Conference League 2023/24 Group Stage Draw
UEFA Europa Conference League 2023/24 Group Stage Draw / Eurasia Sport Images/GettyImages

The team to eventually lift the English Football League trophy should enter the Europa Conference League. Although, there is a suggestion that the Blues might not do so even if the defeat Liverpool on Sunday:

"Chelsea could strike a deal with UEFA to serve a ban from European competition in order to save money, it has been reported.

Chelsea will qualify for the Europa Conference League qualifying rounds if they win the Carabao Cup final against Liverpool on Sunday.

Doing so would bring them under Europe's financial restrictions, which are tighter than the Premier League's.

Kieran Maguire told The Athletic that Chelsea 'won’t make any money' from Europe's third competition and that they might agree with UEFA - as AC Milan did for 2019/20 - to step out of Europe for a year. That would allow them more financial freedom.

'It could be in Chelsea’s interests to do the same as Milan. We’re moving into the realms of three-dimensional chess here, which some clubs are capable of playing,' the football finance expert said."

Chelsea captain Reece James reportedly hopeful of returning for Blues' season run-in

According to a report, James may return for the end of this campaign. Mauricio Pochettino had previously given the same rough estimate hoping to have the England international back whilst 2023/24 was active.

It must be said that the 24-year-old has endured a torrid time concerning recurring injuries. He is such a vital element of any successful contemporary CFC side. James is currently in Qatar 'stepping up his recovery'; the fullback underwent surgery on his hamstring in December.

The article also claims, via supposed Chelsea Football Club insiders, that this was a kind of planned process in order for James to get better. The skipper of the west London outfit's health is said to be being treated with care.

But when can we expect the exciting defender to return following a slightly vague 'run-in' reference? I assume that this phrase could mean the final five or 10 matches of a term; no fixed number is suggested. So, James could possibly make a comeback around the Arsenal game on March 16. Or, if he is only back for a handful of fixtures, maybe the Brighton & Hove Albion clash on April 20.