Amidst all the non-answers about the contract situations and speculations surrounding Thibaut Courtois and Eden Hazard, Antonio Conte did address one issue with a fair amount of clarity in Friday’s pre-match press conference, that of left wing-back Baba Rahman’s prospects as he bids to come back from his ACL tear.
“This player is coming back from a bad injury and he’s struggling a bit to recover the best form. I must be honest, I don’t know what will happen with Baba. From a human aspect, I’d like to give him an opportunity to come back strong like before.
“Now he has to face his recovery. He’s showing great patience because he’s struggling a lot. If I can help him I’m ready to help him because there is the player, and then there is the human aspect. For him it’s good to stay here and recover.”
-Antonio Conte; source: Chelsea FC
Baba’s recovery has suffered a few setbacks along the way (including Schalke 04 walking away from another loan deal in the summer), so it’s a bit disheartening to hear that he continues to struggle to regain full fitness. While Conte makes it clear that he doesn’t have a personal issue with the 23-year-old (that’s my interpretation of the “human aspect”), it doesn’t sound like he will be (or can be, for that matter) counted on as a possible solution to our left wing-back depth issues this January. What that may mean for Baba’s longer term prospects at the club (he will have two years left on his contract after this season) is equally unclear unfortunately, but it’s probably not good.