Only two players in the senior Chelsea first-team haven’t managed a single minute so far this season. One of them is certified glue-guy, vibes merchant, and third goalkeeper Marcus Bettinelli, and that’s certainly understandable. And the other is Juventus loanee Denis Zakaria, whose deadline day arrival was billed as the necessary defensive-minded addition to the midfield in light of N’Golo Kanté’s injury.
And the need for that addition has certainly proven prescient, with Kanté confirmed out for four more months after already missing the last two. And yet, Zakaria has yet to get off the bench. So what gives?
According to head coach Graham Potter, it’s a question of depth charts and tactics rather than anything personal.
“Denis is in the group and has been training well. He is ready to help the team but there is competition for places in that area. He is an important member of the team and is patient and trying to help the team from the side at the moment. He is waiting for his chance.”
-Graham Potter; source: Football.London
While Potter also dismissed speculation that Zakaria is set to cut his loan short and return to Juventus in January (“no decision been made at all on that”), the 25-year-old midfielder would surely prefer to play and help the team directly, rather than just sit and watch and “help” the team from the side.