Here is your Chelsea morning digest for Tuesday, February 2.

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Abramovich condemns racist abuse

Roman Abramovich has spoken against the racist abuse Chelsea defender Reece James received on social media in recent days,

“I am appalled by the racist abuse targeted at Reece on social media,” he said in an open letter to his players.

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“Racism has no place in our club nor in our society. Our club is committed to fighting racism, anti-Semitism and all forms of discrimination.

“We cannot allow this to continue unchecked. I have therefore directed the board to further increase the club’s efforts in this area and I will personally direct more funds towards this important work.”

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Chelsea’s lack of transfer business explained

Chelsea’s January transfer window drew to a close in the way that many of us expected it to – with no new signings.

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The Blues were heavily linked with a move for Declan Rice early in the window and there was also the sudden emergence of a swoop for Borussia Dortmund striker Erling Haaland which seemed a tad far-fetched.

But as the clock almost strikes 11pm on another underwhelming winter transfer window, which was not unexpected, Chelsea will enter the second half of the campaign with the same squad that they exited the summer window with.

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There was some movement at the club across the month. Fikayo Tomori departed on loan to AC Milan for the rest of the season having been frozen out by Frank Lampard, Lucas Piazon also left the club after three appearances in eight years and Danny Drinkwater gave himself a chance to resurrect his career in Turkey by joining Kasimpasa on loan for the rest of the season.

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Chelsea head coach Thomas Tuchel
Chelsea head coach Thomas Tuchel

When Lampard was in charge, the pursuit of Rice was the dominant story in the Chelsea transfer universe. But as soon as Lampard was sacked last Monday, that rumour went with him.

So why didn’t Chelsea sign anyone? Arguably, it was Lampard’s leaving that pretty much put a halt to any moves.

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With Thomas Tuchel arriving as head coach last Tuesday, there was very little time for him to prepare for his first two Premier League games in charge, let alone thinking if his squad needs strengthening or not.

Lampard will have identified some players he thought would have boosted the side during their midst of a bad run of five losses in eight games but he wouldn’t get the chance to bring them in as Roman Abramovich, Marina Granovskaia and Petr Cech decided that enough was enough.

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And with Lampard’s departure went any realistic expectation that Chelsea would be bringing new faces to the club.

Chelsea block Gilmour exit

Billy Gilmour wound up staying at Chelsea after all with the Blues reportedly opting against loaning out the young midfielder.

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football.london understands there was interest in the 19-year-old – who hasn’t been included in either of Thomas Tuchel’s match-day squads – from several clubs ahead of the final day of the transfer window, on Monday.

And with Gilmour keen to secure a spot in the senior Scotland squad ahead of this summer’s European Championships, a six-month loan was expected to materialise before the deadline.

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West Ham United were linked with Gilmour but couldn’t make a move as the two domestic loan spots in their squad are occupied by Craig Dawson and Jesse Lingard. football.london was told of interest from Bournemouth but the Cherries completed a deal for midfielder Ben Pearson on Friday.

As late as yesterday evening, Southampton were reportedly considering an approach for Gilmour, who has made only first-team six appearances for the Blues this term.

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Yet Chelsea’s stance regarding the midfielder meant a deal was of the table anyway. He instead remains part of Tuchel’s squad and will hope to be given playing time in the weeks ahead.

“Of Billy I have a good impression,” Tuchel said at his unveiling on Thursday. “He is a very strategic guy, with a very high level of game understanding, very good in the first contact, very clever in positioning.”

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