A familiar face returned to Stamford Bridge on Sunday for Chelsea’s exciting 2-2 draw against Liverpool, offering a transfer alternative to Lucas Digne
In the aftermath of Chelsea’s enthralling clash with Liverpool on Sunday, it may have been lost that a familiar face was watching on from the stands.
In one of the executive boxes, within the same tier where Roman Abramovich and Marina Granovskaia occupy, one supporter above captured a shot pointing out that former interim boss Avram Grant was in attendance. But what was more interesting was sitting in front of Grant was an academy graduate in Ryan Bertrand.
Bertrand, who is currently at Leicester City, will always be fondly remembered at Stamford Bridge for his contribution to the 2012 Champions League final against Bayern Munich.
With Roberto Di Matteo’s options limited due to defensive injuries and suspension, The then 18-year-old would make his first Champions League start for Chelsea in the club’s biggest ever game.
A photo taken via @ralpha060461 at the match last night shows Avram Grant and Ryan Bertrand close to Marina Granovskaia in the box.
Of course, the night ended in unparalleled glory for Chelsea, and even with Bertrand departing for Aston Villa and Southampton on loan before permanently signing for the Saints for £11m in February 2015, the fullback always received warm applause whenever he returned.
Bertrand, now aged 32, is only five months into his time at Leicester City after joining Brendan Rodgers side back in July after the expiry of his contract at Saint Mary’s.
Things haven’t gone swimmingly for him, not featuring in a Premier League game for the Foxes since early October, where he played the full 90 minutes in a 2-2 draw away at Crystal Palace.
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Since then, the left-back has been left out of the squad entirely in eight of the thirteen matches.
Marina Granovskaia will likely be scrambling around to negotiate quickly for any deal to cover the season-ending injury to Ben Chilwell. Bertrand could act as a familiar face and might be able to provide emergency cover, or at very least, another option for Thomas Tuchel as a backup with Premier League experience.
Bertrand obviously still has a good connection to Chelsea from his academy days. He might see a swift exit from the King Power this month as a unique opportunity to return home if Chelsea’s other options in the market prove to be unsuccessful.
Transfermarkt has him valued at £4m, which is probably not far off what Leicester would price him at, given he was a free transfer last year.
The potential recalls of Emerson Palmieri on loan from Lyon or Ian Maatsen from Coventry both currently appear unlikely. Thomas Tuchel has already hinted at the club discussing alternatives in the coming days.
Bertrand’s return on Sunday was more likely just a chance to watch his old team and see some familiar faces. Still, his ability as an experienced Premier League left-back offers another short-term option, with Chelsea crying out for cover in wing-back areas for the rest of this season.