Chelsea have confirmed their Premier League squad for the remainder of the 2021/22 season, with three surprise inclusions.
The Blues have unexpectedly included outcasts Ross Barkley and Lewis Baker in the 27-man squad, as well as young centre-back Malang Sarr, with the trio handed squad numbers for the campaign.
Having seen his old number eight handed to Mateo Kovacic during pre-season, Barkley will wear 18, while Sarr will don 31 and Baker 32, the club confirmed on its official website.
All three players had been expected to depart Stamford Bridge either on loan or permanently in the summer, but nothing materialised before the deadline on 31 August.
Barkley saw a proposed season-long loan to Burnley collapse on deadline day, while the same fate befell Sarr's temporary switch to newly-promoted Bundesliga side Greuther Furth.
It was thought Baker might return to Turkey on loan, where he impressed with Trabzonspor last term, but the transfer window there closed on Wednesday.
Premier League clubs can register 25 players over the age of 21, of whom at least eight must be homegrown.
A 'homegrown' player is defined by the Premier League as someone of any nationality who is 21 or older on 1 January 2022 and spent three years between the ages of 16 and 21 attached to an English league team - therefore Andreas Christensen and Romelu Lukaku qualify, as well as Barkley and Baker.
There are no limits on the number of Under-21 players that can be included in a squad - regardless of their nationality. Winger Callum Hudson-Odoi and young goalkeeper Lucas Bergstrom are the two within that age bracket who have been included.
Source : 90min