Chelsea are reportedly leaning towards handing Christopher Nkunku more time on the training pitch than handing him a debut against Newcastle United.
Despite his big-money switch from RB Leipzig during the summer, Nkunku is still to make his first competitive appearance for the Blues.
A knee injury sustained during the final game of the pre-season tour of the USA has resulted in an extended period on the sidelines.
At the time, a four-month period was expected, but the France international has worked his way into a position where he has spent time upping the process in recent weeks.
That has led to head coach Mauricio Pochettino being regularly quizzed on the condition of the 26-year-old given the anticipation over his Premier League debut.
Pochettino acknowledged that Nkunku had told him that he was happy with the process that he was making and hoped to feature against Newcastle after the international break.
However, according to The Mirror, Chelsea do not plan on taking that approach this weekend.
The report suggests that the club's medical team would prefer to provide Nkunku at least another week on the training pitch before giving the green light for a competitive outing.
Furthermore, a patient return is preferred over a frequent batch of game time, with Chelsea eager to avoid risking any further issues with the playmaker.
With Chelsea now impressing in the final third, there is less need to rush Nkunku as a total of eight goals were scored against Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City earlier this month.
Pochettino is also blessed with more options from the substitutes' bench, while the Argentine must also take into consideration a busier schedule in December.
Between December 3 and December 10, Chelsea face games against Brighton & Hove Albion, Manchester United and Everton, and they have recently added an EFL Cup quarter-final tie with Newcastle United to their calendar later in the month.
As it stands, it appears that the target is to introduce Nkunku from the substitutes' bench in one of the three fixtures after the Newcastle game.No Data Analysis info