Pulisic, Ziyech and six players who could leave Chelsea in the January transfer window

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Chelsea Pulisic Ziyech
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The January transfer window gives Graham Potter the chance to mould the Blues squad in his image, but who will be deemed surplus to requirements?

January is a time for resolutions, making changes and starting afresh, and Chelsea seem set to adopt that notion of renewal as they ring in the new year.

The month could bring the first stage of a squad overall at Chelsea in 2023, as the fat is trimmed from a bloated squad and new owner Todd Boehly continues to splurge his riches with a flagrant disregard for what outsiders may think.

In the weeks leading up to the window, manager Graham Potter had the unique opportunity to work closely with those members of his squad who were not involved in the World Cup for an extended period, away from the glare of the public eye and media scrutiny.

He should now have a good idea of who and what he needs to add to his squad, and who has become surplus to requirements.

Here are GOAL's six players who could well depart Stamford Bridge in January...

  1. Hakim Ziyech
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    Hakim Ziyech

    Although his influence waned as the tournament progressed, Ziyech placed himself front and centre of the shop window as he made history with Morocco in Qatar.

    The wide man has long been linked with AC Milan having flattered to deceive since swapping Ajax for west London in 2020, and his languid style would suit the slower pace of Serie A.

    However, Ziyech's performances at the World Cup will also have served as a reminder to Graham Potter of exactly what he is capable of, and an impactful cameo against Nottingham Forest on New Year's Day could mean he is set for a run in the team.

  2. Christian Pulisic
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    Christian Pulisic

    Pulisic was used sparingly by his manager before the World Cup, but his strong showings in Qatar with the United States have immediately made him a more prominent figure in Graham Potter's thinking.

    Nevertheless, if this run in the team comes to an abrupt end like so many others before it, ambitious Pulisic has intimated that he is prepared to seek a move away in order to secure regular game time.

    Speaking in December, the American said: "Right now I'm absolutely back at Chelsea. Focused and ready to finish the season. But you know how things work in football. Things change quickly and anything can happen."

  3. Edouard Mendy
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    Edouard Mendy

    Mendy's name being among those on this list would have been inconceivable a matter of months ago.

    The goalkeeper was out of form and injured when Potter was installed at the helm, and he has paid the price. Potter turned to Kepa Arrizabalaga in his absence and has stood by the Spaniard in the weeks since when picking his strongest XI, with Mendy restricted to a back-up role.

    The Champions League and AFCON winner is unlikely to settle for playing second fiddle, and Milan has been rumoured as a possible destination on a short-term deal as they seek cover for injured Mike Maignan.

  4. Carney Chukwuemeka
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    Carney Chukwuemeka

    Carney Chukwuemeka's unexpected summer transfer to Chelsea was greeted with much fanfare as the Blues gazumped a number of top European clubs to sign the exciting talent from Aston Villa.

    Things haven't worked out yet, though, with the star of England's glorious Under-19 European Championship campaign rarely afforded an opportunity under either Thomas Tuchel or Potter.

    The 19-year-old is on the fringes of the first team but well down the pecking order, so a loan is surely being considered behind closed doors - especially at such a crucial stage in his development. There would no doubt be a queue of Premier League suitors.

  5. Cesare Casadei

    Cesare Casadei

    Casadei's summer arrival is testament to the fact that Chelsea are acquiring and developing an exciting pool of young players, with new owner Todd Boehly intent on building an army of Under-25 talent.

    But that means the competition to break through is even fiercer.

    Since arriving from Inter, goalscoring midfielder Casadei has hit the ground running with the development squad and was included in the travelling party for the mid-season training camp in Abu Dhabi, catching the eye on his first-team debut there against Aston Villa.

    According to The Athletic, the 19-year-old has already been earmarked for a loan away in January, presumably with the intent of fast-tracking his development and preparing him for the first team as soon as possible.

  6. Denis Zakaria

    Denis Zakaria

    Juventus loanee Zakaria seems to occupy a strange space in the Chelsea squad; having not featured at all until early November, the midfielder suddenly seems to be an important part of Graham Potter's post-World Cup plans - but his position is tenuous.

    The seemingly imminent arrival of World Cup star Enzo Fernandez could push him straight back down the pecking order and towards a January exit.

    When Zakaria was out of the team it was rumoured that Chelsea were considering terminating his loan, and that could become a possibility again.

    For now, though, it seems Potter is content with his man. Speaking after the recent win over Bournemouth, the coach said: “Whenever Denis has played, he’s not let us down. He has remained professional, worked really hard. I’ve said before, he has had to be patient because we have some good options in the midfield."