Billy Gilmour and Ross Barkley are among Chelsea stars who face an uncertain first-team future after being left off the club's squad number list for the new season.

The midfield pair, full internationals for Scotland and England respectively, were joined by the likes of Ethan Ampadu, Kenedy and Michy Batshuayi in being omitted.

Gilmour, an unused substitute in the 2021 Champions League final, was loaned out to Norwich City last season. The 21-year-old's Chelsea contract was then extended in June of this year to run until the end of the 2023-24 season.

His and 28-year-old Barkley's first-team prospects at least for the near future look bleak. That was made all the more obvious when the Blues brought in teenage midfielder Carney Chukwuemeka this week, handing the number 30 shirt to the England Under-19 international.

The return of Conor Gallagher from his successful loan at Crystal Palace also means he jumps the midfield queue at Stamford Bridge, taking the number 23 jersey.

Ampadu, 21, has barely been a factor in Chelsea's first-team considerations in recent seasons, with the Wales international having loan spells with RB Leipzig, Sheffield United and Venezia.

With Wales qualifying for Qatar 2022, ending a 64-year wait for a World Cup appearance, Ampadu will be eager to see first-team action before November, and that does not look likely at Chelsea.

Belgium striker Batshuayi will also be wanting to play regularly before that tournament, with he and Kenedy looking ripe for loan exits before the transfer window closes on September 1.

Highly rated centre-back Levi Colwill was also absent from the list, which was published on Thursday, although he reportedly could form part of a deal to bring Marc Cucurella to Chelsea from Brighton and Hove Albion.

It was already known that new recruits Raheem Sterling and Kalidou Koulibaly would take numbers 17 and 26 respectively, with both poised to be fixtures in Thomas Tuchel's team.

Albanian striker Armando Broja, back from a loan at Southampton, is handed number 18, with the number nine shirt as yet unclaimed after Romelu Lukaku was loaned to Inter.

Chelsea were linked at one stage in the close season with Cristiano Ronaldo of Manchester United, while more recent speculation has suggested they could be keen on Barcelona's former Arsenal striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

Tuchel's side begin their Premier League campaign away to Blues hero Frank Lampard's Everton on Saturday.

Reece James is still a few weeks from his return from injury as Thomas Tuchel confirmed the defender will not travel with Chelsea to Abu Dhabi for the Club World Cup.

James suffered a hamstring injury at the end of December and has been unable to return to team training since.

His absence proved a big blow for the Blues given James' importance in his right wing-back role – between the start of the season and December 29, he had a hand in the joint-most goals (11) across all competitions in their squad, while only Mason Mount (42) laid on more key passes than James (38).

James' injury was especially frustrating for Chelsea given they had already lost Ben Chilwell for the rest of the season after sustained a serious knee injury the previous month.

And James will not be back in the immediate future, Tuchel confirmed on Friday, though he did not seem too disheartened at Chelsea's inability to bring in extra cover for the wing-backs during the January transfer window.

"We tried and had ideas, but in the end we stick to what we have and are happy," Tuchel told reporters ahead of Saturday's FA Cup fourth-round clash with Plymouth Argyle.

"Reece will come back at some point [this season], unfortunately not Ben Chilwell, but Reece will come back and compete for a place in the squad.

"Azpi [Cesar Azpilicueta] at the moment is in fantastic form and a fantastic place. That is why it's fine. We try to find solutions in our squad.

"[James] is not in team training yet. After a couple of weeks, he will need some time in team training to get the rhythm and confidence back before we think about playing him.

 

"So he does not travel with us to the Club World Cup. For Reece, I am too long a coach to get overexcited by pure dates that are maybe out there.

"I know you can have setbacks and can take longer sometimes. The injury was a big injury and I felt it straight away. The diagnosis was straight away it was a big injury and from there we have to be patient.

"It's always a bit of a tricky one, and he is a physical player. He caught flu in the last week and lost days in his process of coming back to the team.

"We are patient and we want to have him on the pitch [on Saturday], of course, but it's not happening at the moment and we have to stay patient."

Although Chelsea did not sign anyone in January, Kenedy returned from a loan spell with Flamengo and will fill a void in the squad for the rest of the season.

Tuchel believes the winger could be a useful option as a wing-back and he was enthusiastic about giving the 25-year-old Brazilian a second chance at Chelsea, for whom he has played just 15 Premier League games since joining from Fluminense in 2015.

"It's a clean slate and I think he knows it," Tuchel said. "I followed Kenedy for many years, I followed him when he played for Newcastle.

"He was very promising in the early part of his career. He lost track a little bit and maybe couldn't fulfil the demands from the outside I had, but this is life.

"He gets a second or third chance to be here, and it's not about what happened. He was good in pre-season, he decided he wanted to go back to Brazil and try there. But having Kenedy and Emerson on loan, Kenedy was possible [to bring back] and now he is here.

"He is a very nice guy, very talented, and let's see where he is. It's a huge opportunity, and I am very happy to give it to him and help him make the best of it."

Kenedy has extended his contract with Chelsea and agreed to return to Brazil to join Flamengo on a season-long loan.

The 25-year-old previously had a deal in place to stay at Stamford Bridge until 2022, though a new longer-term contract will keep him with the Champions League winners until 2023.

The versatile wide player, who joined from Fluminense in August 2015, has been loaned out four times in the last five seasons, making just 27 first-team appearances for the Blues and scoring three goals.

He has spent the last two campaigns playing in Spain, for Getafe and then Granada, after spells to varying degrees of success with Premier League sides Watford and Newcastle United.

During his time at Newcastle in 2018-19, Kenedy attempted the second most dribbles at the club (61) and was successful in just over half of his ball carries, despite playing only 25 top-flight games.

Kenedy continued in similar fashion with Granada, whom he netted for four times in 28 LaLiga appearances, while also ranking joint-second for dribbles attempted and completing just over half of the 72 he tried.

The Brazilian also played the fourth most passes into the box last term, including crosses, swinging in 63 passes and creating 10 chances from open play.

There will be home comforts aplenty for Kenedy with Flamengo, who share their stadium - the Maracana in Rio de Janeiro - with former club Fluminense, and he will be hoping to help the reigning champions of Brazil to another Serie A title this season.

Manchester United's Andreas Pereira may also join the Chelsea loanee in Brazil, with reports linking the midfielder with a loan to the Brazilian outfit.

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