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Chelsea assign shirt numbers to Barkley, Baker, Sarr for Champions League squad

Here to stay, here to play?

Arsenal v Chelsea: The Mind Series Photo by Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images

The deadline for submitting squad lists for the group stages of the Champions League was midnight Thursday, with UEFA subsequently updating their website with (presumably) the lists of player that were registered by the participating teams.

Normally a fairly mundane event, there were a few surprises in the published Chelsea list this time around, namely the inclusion of the in-limbo trio of Ross Barkley, Lewis Baker, and Malang Sarr — all three of whom failed to secure (loan) moves away from Chelsea this summer despite there seemingly being no spot for them in the first-team.

But UEFA rules still allow for the registration of a maximum of 25 players on “list A” plus an unlimited number on a flexible “list B” (homegrown under-21), which means that we do in fact have spots for them in the team. How much they might actually factor in remains to be seen, but they are here, so they might as well get registered — if for nothing else, just in case.

And of course you can’t register a player without a shirt number, so we have Ross Barkley with Giroud’s old No.18 (Barkley’s old No.8 is now with Kovačić), while Sarr and Baker have taken No.31 and No.32, respectively.

The squad rules are the same as in recent years, with no more than 17 non-homegrown players allowed, and no more than 4 association-trained allowed among the 8 (or more) homegrown contingent. It is okay to home more homegrown players of course, as long as the total number doesn’t exceed 25. In fact, Chelsea have only 15 non-homegrown players in the Champions League squad, with 6 (six!) truly homegrown players! Quite the paradigm shift from just a few years ago, when we had to register fewer than 25 in total, and leave a couple non-homegrown players off the list, even.

non-HG (15): Alonso, Arrizabalaga, Azpilicueta, Jorginho, Havertz, Kanté, Kovačić, Mendy, Pulisic, Rüdiger, Sarr, Saúl, Silva, Werner, Ziyech

association-trained (4): Barkley, Bettinelli, Chilwell, Lukaku

club-trained (6): Baker, Chalobah, Christensen, James, Loftus-Cheek, Mount

current list B (3): Bergström, Hudson-Odoi, Vale

Or, if you’re a visual learner:

Lukaku qualifies as FA-trained since he spent three years playing in England before turning 22. If he had done so just at Chelsea, he would be club-trained. This is a UEFA-only distinction, so he will qualify as just homegrown for Premier League purposes, whenever that squad becomes official (should be soon).