The final missing pieces of the Chelsea jigsaw were back at Cobham on Monday as the final remaining international players reported for their first day of pre-season training.
England trio Mason Mount, Reece James and Ben Chilwell, Italy duo Jorginho and Emerson as well as Brazil captain Thiago Silva were all back on the pitches at Chelsea’s training ground as a very unique pre-season continues.
Chelsea’s cohort of players has been split into four groups as they are all at differing stages of their training, with some having been back at Cobham for a few weeks while others such as Cesar Azpilicueta and Andreas Christensen were only back at the training ground late last week.
Chelsea head coach Thomas Tuchel has described the situation at Cobham as “unique” after the gruelling 2020/21 season then the international tournaments over the summer meaning an incredibly shortened pre-season for some of his key players.
Tuchel said after the win over Arsenal in The Mind Series on Sunday: “Like I’ve mentioned many times, it’s pretty unique preparation because we come from a tough season and a season that came without a pause in between, so it was very demanding without that break.
“Now we had tournaments with the Euros and Copa America, and our players were used until the finals.
“It’s pretty unique and pretty demanding and challenging to organise. Tomorrow we will have four different groups on the training pitch because they are all in different physical conditions.
“We can’t simply put them together and see what is going to happen.”
It is the moment that Tuchelhas been waiting all summer for to get his Champions League-winning band back together for the first time since May and the victory over Man City in Porto.
But he won’t have long to get them ready for the Premier League opener against Crystal Palace on August 14 as those who were back on Monday almost certainly won’t feature against Spurs in midweek.
Chelsea have set a pattern across the pre-season so far that they have given their players at least a week’s worth of training from their return from being away before putting them into games.
That means Azpilicuetaand Christensen may not be involved against Spurs on Wednesday.
But with the established stars now all back at Cobham, it means that the level of intensity in the other groups may well step up a notch, especially with those players who were on loan last season.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek will now have all of his midfield competition back at the club, likewise Callum Hudson-Odoi with Reece James and Azpilicueta lurking.
While they might not all be training as the same group on the vast and expansive pitches at Chelsea’s training ground, you can expect that the levels in training will increase, not only because there is only one friendly of the summer remaining before the Super Cup.
With everyone back, talk will no doubt accelerate around who could be leaving the club and who could be coming in. It has been a quiet summer so far for the Blues, who have dealt in outgoings for the majority and only signing one new face, that of Marcus Bettinelli on a free transfer.
But as the season fast approaches, now things might start to heat up off the pitch and also on it.