Chelsea defender Andreas Christensen has said he may have to leave the club if he continues to struggle for minutes.
Since the arrival of new manager Maurizio Sarri, David Luiz and Antonio Rudiger have been the preferred centre-back pairing, with Cesar Azpilicueta and Marcos Alonso occupying the full-back slots.
It means that Christensen, who was an important player under former coach Antonio Conte last season, has been limited to appearances in the Carabao Cup and the UEFA Europa League. The Denmark international has yet to feature in the Premier League this season.
Speaking about his fight for game time, Christensen said he may have to consider his options if things don't change soon, per Danish website bt.dk (h/t Joe Shread of Sky Sports):
"I cannot stand to have so much patience again. Now I'm 22 years old and I really want to play. In the last three seasons, I've played, so it's clear that I do not see me staying if my current situation is also true in the future.
"It's too early to talk about when to change if I'm going to change. But it is clear that it is not a good situation for me. It has been difficult to get into the team, and when we get the good results that we currently do, it will only be even harder."
Per Liam Twomey of ESPN FC, when the defender was introduced into the team last season, he looked ready for top-level football:
Although the defender will be frustrated with his lack of action, it's tough to argue with the choices made by Sarri, as Chelsea have excelled in the Premier League so far.
Luiz and Rudiger have formed a strong partnership at the base of the team, as they both offer commanding presences in the air and are dynamic in their defending. In addition, they are each comfortable on the ball, something that's vital in Sarri's possession-based setup.
Rudiger, in particular, has come on massively at the start of the campaign. The Talk Chelsea Twitter account is pleased with his development:
Given Christensen is still young, a partnership between himself and Rudiger may be the future for the Blues, especially given the Denmark star does appear well suited to the way Sarri wants his team to operate.
He too is composed in the way he distributes possession from deeper areas:
With Luiz now 31 and Gary Cahill 32, Chelsea will need to start thinking about the future in their centre-back positions soon. Rudiger, only 25, appears an ideal linchpin to build the base of the team around, and Christensen would be an ideal partner in theory.
It appears as though Christensen isn't keen to wait for opportunities any longer, though, especially given he has already spent two years away from the Blues on loan at Borussia Monchengladbach. Yet in the short term, it's tough to see Sarri breaking up the pair that has worked so well for him in the Premier League.