The mood around Stamford Bridge has been miserable in recent weeks. Under Maurizio Sarri, Chelsea have suffered embarrassing defeats against Bournemouth and Manchester City, and many fans have turned on their manager.
To make matters worse, Chelsea have now been handed a transfer ban which will prevent them from signing any new players for the next two transfer windows. Sounds like a pretty dire situation to be in, right?
Wrong. So very wrong. Chelsea will likely feel the full extent of this transfer ban, but the fallout from this situation could be overwhelmingly positive.
Eden Hazard's Future
Let's start with the obvious - how does this ban affect the future of Eden Hazard? It has been reported that Chelsea will sell the Belgian in the summer if he does not sign a new contract, but this plan will likely be put on hold if they are unable to replace him.
Losing Hazard, without the possibility of signing a replacement, is the worst outcome for Chelsea. However, this ban may be the catalyst in Hazard signing a new contract. He has previously admitted that he does not want to clash with the club about his future, meaning he could remain to help cope with the ban.
The situation bears a striking similarity to that of Atletico Madrid forward Antoine Griezmann. Atletico were in the midst of their own transfer ban, but the Frenchman's move to Barcelona in 2018 was almost a foregone conclusion. However, Griezmann shocked many by signing a new contract at the club as he refused to leave them struggling.
Callum Hudson-Odoi to Step Up
The next burning question in this saga concerns Callum Hudson-Odoi. The youngster has been heavily pursued by Bayern Munich, whilst Paris Saint-Germain have also been credited with recent interest in the winger. Chelsea refused to let him go in January, and their stance will likely remain the same going forward.
Outside of Hazard, Chelsea's other senior wingers, Willian and Pedro, are both over 30 years old. Borussia Dortmund winger Christian Pulisic is already coming to the club at the end of the season, but Chelsea would be foolish to allow Hudson-Odoi to leave, given their attacking players are all undoubtedly approaching the twilight years of their careers.
With the possibility of a new superstar arriving at Stamford Bridge now unlikely, Hudson-Odoi's pathway to regular first-team football just became a lot clearer, and the same can be said for Chelsea's army of talented youngsters.
Time to Use the Academy
The Blues have been prevented from papering over the cracks in their squad with money. If only they had one of the world's finest academies to produce future stars at their disposal. Oh, wait - they do.
Who replaces an ageing David Luiz? Maybe Trevoh Chalobah, Ethan Ampadu or Andreas Christensen. How about the out-of-form pairing of Cesar Azplicueta and Marcos Alonso? The likes of Reece James, Jay Dasilva and Dujon Sterling are all waiting in the wings.
Even in attack, Chelsea currently rely on players over the age of 30. Gonzalo Higuain and Olivier Giroud are the club's only options, but chances could soon be coming for Tammy Abraham, Daishawn Redan or Charlie Brown, who is nearing the accolade of all-time top scorer in UEFA Youth League history.
No more wasteful signings like Davide Zappacosta and Danny Drinkwater. Fans have been screaming for the club to turn to their academy for the answers, and they might just get their wish.
This transfer ban could be the best thing to ever happen to Chelsea.