Christmas is meant to be a time of joy, laughter and being with loved ones.

So far for Chelsea, the month of December has brought anything but happiness.

A narrow win away to Watford did not start the Santa season in the greatest fashion.

Losing to West Ham United snuffed out the red light on Rudolph’s nose.

Chelsea Zenit
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Relinquishing top spot in the Premier League was certainly nothing to cheer about.

Injuries to several players is the last present Thomas Tuchel wants right now.

But perhaps the worst gift of them all has been handed over by Antonio Rudiger.

On the naughty list

His contract situation has been unwrapped for the world to see and it’s not pretty.

Rudiger’s wage demands haven’t earned the response he desires, meaning the possibility of him remaining at Stamford Bridge is slimmer than seeing a white Christmas this year.

Chelsea are apparently resigned to the fact they will be without their centre-back in the second half of 2022, a New Years’ resolution nobody wants to take on.

Chelsea Zenit
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Tuchel may already be planning for life without the German international, starting with tonight’s Champions League game against Zenit St Petersburg.

As the Blues have already qualified for the knockout rounds, the manager can rest a few of his weary soldiers.

Although Rudiger hardly ever misses a minute, he might just get a day off in Russia this evening, due to the league clash with Leeds United looming large on the horizon.

This could give Malang Sarr the rare opportunity to stretch his legs in the left centre-half role.

Sarr to step up

Sarr is yet to play in Europe for the current holders and there probably won’t be another chance to do so once the elimination stages begin.

The 22-year-old did play six times in the competition whilst on-loan at Porto in the previous campaign, so there is prior experience to lean upon.

But the Zenit tie could mean more to the Frenchman than simply getting minutes under his belt.

Chelsea Zenit
Photo by James Williamson – AMA/Getty Images

Permitted Rudiger leaves the club, Chelsea will need another left-sided defender to fill a sizeable hole in the squad.

Of course, they may want to go out and spend big on a Jules Kounde or a Pau Torres.

Or, they could take the cheaper option and integrate Sarr into the team.

His true potential will never be unleashed if he continues to sit on the sidelines.

Today is the first trial. He has to pass, otherwise, the Blues are probably going to splash the cash in January.

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