Chelsea boss Mauricio Pochettino already has new signing ready to replace Lavia

Mauricio Pochettino was left a Chelsea gift by Thomas Tuchel and a £150m headache

Mauricio Pochettino has a talented Chelsea youngster chomping at the bit to step up and replace the injured Romeo Lavia. With the Belgian set for a spell on the sidelines and Moises Caicedo needing to be assessed before Sunday’s clash with Bournemouth, it could be time for Lesley Ugochukwu to step in from the start.

The Blues opted to take their time with Lavia, rather than throw him straight into the starting XI after his big-money move from Southampton. Pochettino revealed on Friday that he was nearing full fitness while training during the international break, but a twisted ankle is now threatening to see him ruled out for some time.

“It’s a sad situation because he was nearly fit to be involved again with the team,” said the Argentine. “Now we need to wait and hope it is not a big issue for him, and the team of course, because he cannot help the team.”

Pochettino also added that Caicedo was not a guaranteed starter against the Cherries after his lengthy travels to join up with Ecuador on international duty.

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“We need to assess him, because he got back a little bit later than Enzo [Fernandez],” he said. If Caicedo and Lavia are both left out, it would leave a vacancy to be filled in Pochettino’s three-man midfield alongside Fernandez and Conor Gallagher.

Luckily for Pochettino, he already has a new recruit who is believed to have made quite an impression in training. Ugochukwu signed from Rennes this summer in a deal reportedly worth just over £23million.

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The teenager could easily have been sent straight out on loan before the transfer deadline, much like Chelsea did with many of their other emerging talents. However, Pochettino opted to keep him in-house until at least January, and Ugochukwu has already made three cameo appearances.

Although the Blues may have preferred to break the 19-year-old in gently, Pochettino will demand high standards from his side this weekend after a disappointing start to his tenure in west London.

Just one win from his first four Premier League matches left Chelsea languishing in the bottom half over the international break. Pochettino was brought in to inspire a dramatic change in fortunes after last campaign’s dismal 12th-place finish.

Although Lavia’s twisted ankle came as a crushing blow, the Londoners are set to welcome Armando Broja and Benoit Badiashile back into the fold for the trip to the south coast after their respective recoveries from injury.

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