Most of the Chelsea squad will be on international duty over the next week or so but those are not – including John Terry, Juan Mata, Fernando Torres and Cesar Azpilicueta will still be training at Cobham, with something to prove.
Among them, perhaps with more to show than any of the others, will be Demba Ba, not included in Senegal’s squad but keen to impress Jose Mourinho instead.
Ba may have some work to do on that front. He has only got on the pitch once so far this season, with a quiet 65 minutes in the 2-1 defeat of Aston Villa on 21 August, before failing to make the match-day squad for the high-profile games against Manchester United or Bayern Munich.
The day before the European Super Cup Chelsea bought Samuel Eto’o as well, a three-time Champions League winner, an unambiguous all-time great and not a man you sign to spend too much time on the bench.
So with one extra striker there it was inevitable that one would go on deadline day. The initial plan was for Ba to leave on loan for the season. Chelsea wanted a loan fee of a few million pounds. West Ham United wanted to bring Ba back – he scored seven goals in 12 games there in 2010-11 – but could not afford to.
There was hope, though, from all sides, that Arsenal – so keen on a new striker, with Olivier Giroud their only fit senior forward right now – might be able to do a deal for Ba. But the two clubs could not agree a fee – they were at least £1m away from doing so. It was Romelu Lukaku, then, who was loaned out instead to Everton for the season. Ba stayed at Chelsea, and will be competing with Eto’o and Torres for first-team football. It is a long season and there will be games for everyone but maybe not as many as he hoped.