Chelsea last night suffered another blow from Fifa, when the world governing body ruled that under the terms of their transfer ban, players out on a season-long loan cannot be recalled in January.
Earlier yesterday, Carlo Ancelotti, speaking for the first time about the punishment, said that if necessary the club would minimise it by recalling Michael Mancienne from Wolves, Scott Sinclair from Wigan and the Argentine striker Franco di Santo from Blackburn.
Di Santo can return, as his agreement was only for half the season. But Sinclair's was for the full season and in Mancienne's case Fifa will have to rule on whether an "emergency release clause" can be applied. A Fifa spokesman told The Independent: "If it's a season-long loan, it cannot be terminated in order to bring players back."
The club expect to hear back from Fifa in the next 10 days with their full reasoning for the transfer ban, imposed after allegedly inducing Gaël Kakuta to break his contract with Lens two years ago. They then have 21 days to respond. Should their appeal fail, and further injuries occur in the next few months, they could be left short of players.
Speaking for the first time about the ban, Ancelotti manager said of Kakuta: "He's a very good player, a very good talent, but I haven't seen him after the decision. He went off with the [Under-19] national team of France and scored two goals. There are a lot of players who can reach the first-team, potentially. But we have to take our time because they're very young."
Ancelotti said he did not know anything about the whole affair until he saw on the internet that Chelsea had been prevented from signing any players until January 2011 and effectively ordered to pay £795,000 compensation to Lens. "I was surprised, but life continues," he added yesterday at the luxurious Cobham training centre where Kakuta has worked since arriving as a 16 year-old. "We hope that they overturn the decision," he said. "Now, the problem of the transfer embargo is not a problem because we have a good team and very good players, but in the future we'll have to wait and see."
As for January, when Didier Drogba, Salomon Kalou, Michael Essien and John Obi Mikel could all be at the African Cup of Nations: "We have very good players and Joe Cole, a very important player for us, will be ready by then. Also, if we need them, we can get the players back who are on loan to cover. We didn't think we would bring any new players in during January, even before this happened."
The manager is more concerned with the immediate future and building on a 100 per cent start by his Premier League leaders during the coming two-month period that will determine the shape of their season. "We're entering a very important period for us now," he said. "Next week the Champions League starts. Up to October, we have a lot of matches, important matches in the Premier League against Spurs and Liverpool, and the Champions League as well. But I think we're in a good situation to do very well."
The first challenge, at Stoke today, will be an unfamiliar one to even as experienced a football man as Ancelotti, who never came up against huge throw-ins and direct play in Serie A. "What they do makes it a difficult game," he said. "There is a great atmosphere in their stadium, their fans pushing for the team, but it doesn't matter. We want to go there and play, trying to control the situation. We want to put our quality on the pitch." Chelsea were able to do that last season as one of only four teams to win at the Britannia Stadium and the only one to do so by more than a single goal in a 2-0 success.Reuse content