Juventus loaned Denis Zakaria to Chelsea on the final day of the transfer window, but yet to play a minute for the Blues.
The Champions League match between Chelsea and Dinamo Zagreb on Wednesday night had little at stake. Chelsea has won three straight games after a poor start to the season, and Graham Potter has helped the Blues secure first position with one game left and advance to the round of 16.
It will seem logical for some rest and rotation to occur against the Croatian team after having played nine games in October and having four games left in the upcoming two weeks. Especially considering the additional straight of injuries that individuals like Reece James and Wesley Fofana have provided over the past month.
Omari Hutchinson was given the chance to travel with the club at the weekend, so although many may be expecting for the introduction of some lesser-known stars and intriguing kids, it may also be a chance for those in the first team squad to stake their claim.
Denis Zakaria is yet to play for the Blues since joining Chelsea on loan on transfer deadline day, and seems to be making little progress toward Potter’s ambitions despite the fixture list.
The fact that Mateo Kovacic was forced to replace Conor Gallagher against Brentford despite having a knee injury may have been the most revealing factor. On that particular night, Ruben Loftus-Cheek was positioned elsewhere, which decreased the number of players.
The Swiss international, who stayed on the bench, has played more minutes this season for Juventus than Chelsea. Potter recently said that the loanee would get a chance soon, but he also mentioned the competitiveness in the middle of the park.
Potter stated: "Yes and you can imagine every player wants to play and when they don’t they’re disappointed and they’re frustrated and it’s normal and you wouldn’t expect anything else but I have to say he has conducted himself fantastically well in terms of with the group, supports his teammates really well, is always there but you can tell he wants to play so, yeah, have to understand that situation but he is fighting for the team, being really professional in training waiting for his opportunity and I’m sure it will come around soon.
"Well, we just spoke about Mason Mount, and there’s Conor Gallagher and Ruben and Jorgi in that area of the pitch. There’s quite a lot of competition so it’s not like he is doing anything bad. It’s just I’ve got to start somewhere in terms of selection and then the other guys have got to be patient and try hard off the side and be ready when the team needs them and that’s exactly what he is doing."
The best opportunity is on Wednesday night, though there is a good probability that the squad will have additional competition from the development squad. Will Charlie Webster or Lewis Hall be more likely to be paired with a more seasoned head who has played frequently this term if Potter wants to give them a chance?
His absence from the matchup with Dinamo would suggest that he could be better off moving on to other opportunities. Considering that players are only permitted to play for two teams in a season, that can only be accomplished outside of Juventus if Zakaria does not make an appearance for the Blues.
It will be possible for him to have another chance in the Carabao Cup match against Manchester City, but the most telling thing of all will be whether he gets any minutes in the Champions League on Wednesday.