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Chelsea injuries ´sharpened focus´ for Joao Felix deal – and Potter is not done

SoccerNews in English Premier League 11 Jan 2023

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Chelsea were already interested in new loan signing Joao Felix, but Graham Potter suggested the club’s injury crisis “sharpened the focus” in the transfer market.

The Blues have been the big movers of the January window, signing Benoit Badiashile, David Datro Fofana and Andrey Santos on permanent deals.

Potter was also able to add Portugal forward Joao Felix on Wednesday as he agreed a temporary move until the end of the season from Atletico Madrid.

His arrival boosts a Chelsea side struggling in 10th in the Premier League, albeit Potter believes the number of injuries he is dealing with “can skew the picture a little bit”.

“If we had those guys back, I think the picture changes, I really do,” he said. “I don’t think we’re as far away as we may think from the outside.”

Potter was uncertain if Joao Felix could immediately debut against Fulham on Thursday, as Chelsea wait on his registration, but Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will be back after missing the previous match against Manchester City.

There was less positive news on Christian Pulisic, who may miss months, while Raheem Sterling is still being evaluated. Ben Chilwell remains out, and Reece James and N’Golo Kante are only now training on their own.

“We’ve been aware of [the Joao Felix deal] for a while; these things don’t happen quickly,” Potter said. “Obviously the injuries have maybe sharpened the focus a little bit.”

Joao Felix underwhelmed after a record-breaking move to Atleti, but Potter would not be drawn on his career in Spain, which is set to be extended after the ex-Benfica man signed an extension at the same time as joining Chelsea.

The Chelsea coach’s only assessment was Joao Felix is “a quality player” who “can make a difference in the final third of the pitch”.

That has been a problem under Potter, with Chelsea netting only 20 league goals so far this season. His Brighton and Hove Albion team similarly had a reputation for struggling in attack.

However, Joao Felix alone will not be expected to turn the team’s fortunes around, as Potter added: “My thoughts are you have to fix the team; it’s not just one person to solve your problems.”

Perhaps further signings could help the new man impact change, with Chelsea – heavily linked with Benfica’s Enzo Fernandez – not necessarily done in the transfer market.

“There’s time,” Potter said. “Whether we’ll find the right players or not is another thing.”

He added: “We’re happy with what we’ve done so far, but we’ll keep going to try to improve the team.”

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