Thomas Tuchel has confirmed that Edouard Mendy will miss international duty with Senegal due to tooth surgery — and it may benefit Chelsea.
For Mendy, it seems to be an unfortunate timing of surgery that prevents him from joining the Senegal squad — but certainly not for Tuchel and Chelsea.
From Chelsea’s point of view, the international break arrives at the wrong time, given their impressive form and 14-game unbeaten run under the new manager.
A couple of weeks ago, Tuchel admitted that he is “absolutely worried” about this month’s international break, to the point that he might stop some players from joining national teams.
“I am absolutely worried because my target is to play Premier League and if I have players in quarantine, I cannot build the group that we want,” he said earlier this month (via Sky Sports).
“But I am also sure that the club knows how to handle it and if it maybe is the consequence that players cannot go, then this is the consequence.”
Is the timing of Mendy’s planned surgery part of “the consequence”?
We will never know for sure, but one thing is certain: Tuchel will likely have his first-choice goalkeeper available for West Brom’s visit to Stamford Bridge on April 3.
If Mendy had been travelling to join his Senegal teammates, he would have to quarantine for 10 days upon returning to London.
This is because Senegal will play an away game at DR Congo on March 26, which is in the UK’s COVID-19 red list travel ban countries.
Senegalese Football Federation is likely to be fine with Mendy’s absence as well, having already qualified for the 2021 AFCON.
Chelsea might not have any quarantine problem once international break is over
Hakim Ziyech, on the other hand, will travel to join the Morocco squad.
While Morocco have a five-point lead in their qualification group, they are technically yet to qualify.
But the potential biggest reason Ziyech has not suddenly had a “tooth problem”, aside from proper dental care, might be because Morocco will not play in any country in the aforementioned UK’s red list and therefore will not have to quarantine.
This is also the case for Christian Pulisic who has been called up to US national team squad for friendly fixtures against Jamaica (home) and Northern Ireland (away).
Meanwhile, Thiago Silva will stay at Chelsea after CONMEBOL suspends this month’s World Cup qualifiers in South America following pressures from several clubs that reportedly decline to release their players.