Chelsea’s preparations for the new season have been thrown into turmoil after they were hit by a coronavirus outbreak – with eight of their players missing pre-season as they self-isolate.
The Blues have confirmed a number of players have tested positive for Covid-19 and are in quarantine to limit the threat of further spreading among Frank Lampard’s squad.
Mason Mount, Tammy Abraham, Christian Pulisic and Fikayo Tomori are all understood to be in self-isolation after they were pictured on holiday on the Greek island of Mykonos before pre-season training began last weekend.
Jorginho, Ross Barkley, Emerson and Michy Batshuayi are also reported to be staying away from Chelsea’s Cobham base.
It is not known which of the players have tested positive. The Telegraph report that six players have the virus and a further two are quarantining because of close contact with those affected.
Christian Pulisic, Tammy Abraham and Fikayo Tomori are pictured in Mykonos together
Pulisic and Mason Mount (right, with Didier Drogba) took their off-season holidays in Mykonos
Ross Barkley is pictured at a beach bar in Mykonos during Chelsea’s off-season break
The players all underwent coronavirus tests at the end of last week ahead of their planned return to pre-season training.
But as a result of the need to quarantine, a number of Chelsea players have yet to report back to the club’s Cobham HQ.
Abraham and Mount are in Gareth Southgate’s England squad and their quarantine period is not thought to be an issue ahead of next week’s Nations League game against Iceland. Southgate is said to have been aware of the situation when he picked his squad.
Midfielder Barkley, who was left out of Southgate’s selection through injury, has also been pictured in Mykonos.
The 26-year-old had been pictured at the island’s SantAnna Beach Club – where Abraham and Tomori had also been seen.
Dimitris Christoforidis, owner of SantAnna confirmed to MailOnline that the Chelsea players visited the club a number of times last week.
He said: ‘I went over to say hello and made sure they were being properly looked after.
‘They were going out a lot to bars, clubs and restaurants where there are other people and places are not properly ventilated.
‘I have no concerns about my club. It’s open air, on the beach and we have no enclosed inside spaces. There are also 55 bathrooms, many only for use by our exclusive guests.
‘I’m not worried at all that they may have caught coronavirus here.’
Michy Batshuayi (left) has been in France, while Jorginho (right) returned to Italy on holiday
Tomori posted this photo from the SantAnna beach club in Mykonos last week
Jorginho took his holiday in Capri, Italy, while Batshuayi has been in Cannes, France.
None of them are back in first-season training. Chelsea play their first match of pre-season away at Brighton on Saturday before opening the new Premier League campaign against the same opponents on September 14.
Before Chelsea’s players underwent their checks it emerged last week that there had been a sharp rise in cases across the league following players’ summer breaks.
Fourteen positive tests were recorded at 12 different clubs who returned to pre-season training at the start of last week, including Sheffield United, West Ham and Brighton.
Mykonos has proven to be a go-to hotspot for Premier League footballers this summer as an alternative to the usual haunts of Las Vegas, Ibiza and Marbella – all locations where the Foreign Office advise against all non-essential travel.
Manchester United captain Harry Maguire was handed a 21-month suspended prison sentence on Tuesday after being found guilty of aggravated assault, resisting arrest and repeated attempts of bribery following a fracas on the Greek island of Mykonos last week.
Mount (second-left) and Abraham (centre) are said to be among Chelsea’s self-isolating stars
Emerson (left) and Barkley (right) are reported to also be self-isolating away from Chelsea
Yet he may have to wait up to two years before his appeal is heard due to a backlog of legal cases in Greece.
Meanwhile, Chelsea confirmed the signing of left back Ben Chilwell for around £50million from Leicester. And they are close to taking their summer spending spree past the £220m mark by sealing a deal for German star Kai Havertz.
Attacking midfielder Havertz is finalising his club record move from Bayer Leverkusen on Wednesday. Veteran defender Thiago Silva, 35, is also set to join on a free after leaving Champions League runners-up Paris Saint-Germain.
Chilwell signed a five-year deal worth up to £190,000 per week after passing a medical which included checks on a heel injury from the end of last season.
It’s understood four players have not returned to pre-season training yet under Frank Lampard
There has been a sharp rise in cases across the Premier League following the summer break
The 23-year-old is Lampard’s third major signing, taking his summer spending to around £136m following the signings of Hakim Ziyech from Ajax and forward Timo Werner from RB Leipzig.
Chelsea are backing Lampard in the transfer market as they bid to cut the gap to runaway champions Liverpool and runners up Manchester City.
Chilwell has long been Lampard’s No 1 left back target. Sportsmail revealed in October that Chelsea had emerged as frontrunners for his signature following previous interest from Manchester City.
As well as Havertz and Silva, Chelsea are also close to snapping up free agent Malang Sarr, before allowing the 21-year-old French defender to go out on loan. They still remain in the market for a goalkeeper and another centre back. Either Emerson Palmieri or Marcos Alonso will leave following Chilwell’s arrival.
Ben Chilwell sealed a £50million move from Leicester City to Chelsea on Wednesday