Chelsea face being without Ben Chilwell for several months after it was confirmed he requires knee surgery.
Chilwell suffered cruciate ligament damage during the Blues’ Champions League thrashing of Juventus.
It was hoped the injury could be treated without an operation, but it has since become clear that the England international will have to have surgery.
That leaves Chelsea with a potential problem on the left flank, where their current choices are limited.
The obvious response, especially with the January transfer window just around the corner, would be to bring someone in.
Lucas Digne, who has fallen out with Everton boss Rafael Benitez and been tipped to leave the Merseyside club, has been linked with a loan move to Stamford Bridge.
A number of other players have reportedly also been identified as a possible signing and it remains to be seen if a deal can be done.
Chelsea could opt to instead recall either Emerson Palmieri or Ian Maatsen from their respective loans.
Emerson, who is at Lyon, seemed certain to have played his last match for the Blues when he moved to France. But he has vast experience and would surely be a viable stop-gap.
Meanwhile, young Maatsen is rated as a good prospect and has been enjoying a loan spell in the Championship with Coventry City.
Carry on regardless
The other option would be for Chelsea to simply solider on. After all, they do have decent quality and experience in the left-sided role already.
Marcos Alonso isn’t everyone’s cup of tea but is a proven performer – and scorer of vital goals – while Saul can also operate on the flank.
Boss Thomas Tuchel has also indicated that he might consider Callum Hudson-Odoi in that position and, while that wouldn’t be ideal, as a short-term measure it might be worth trying.