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If signed in time, Higuain could start for Chelsea vs. Tottenham in League Cup

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Yes, they can do that, and yes it’s kind of dumb.

AC Milan Sponsor and Greet Events - Italian Supercup Previews Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images for Lega Serie A

You may have heard by now, but Chelsea are on the verge of signing Juventus striker Gonzalo Higuain. And if it is done soon, he would be eligible to start for the Blues against Tottenham Hotspur at Stamford Bridge in Thursday’s League Cup semifinal second leg.

Chelsea have managed to offload Alvaro Morata to Atletico Madrid this month on loan with a mandatory £48m purchase clause that takes effect this summer. That opens the doors for Chelesa to make a bid to sign the 31-year old Higuain outright, who is currently on loan at AC Milan but would like to move to the Premier League.

And thanks to the League Cup rules, if the deal is done by Wednesday noon, Higuain would be cleared to play against Spurs on Thursday in the League Cup. Many fans assumed that since Higuain wasn’t registered for the first leg of the tie that he would not be eligible until (hypothetically) the final, but the rules do not prohibit new signings from playing so long as they are signed one day before kick-off.

It’s a dumb rule, but honestly who knows if it will even matter. Starting Higuain straight off the bat in such an important match one day after joining a new club would be... well, it’s happened before, but I’m not sure how wise it would be. Higuain has scored six league goals for Milan in just over 1200 minutes as a nailed-on starter, and he’s a very good striker, but it sure seems like his production is starting to trail off.

The alternative for Chelsea is to keep playing with their striker-less formation with Eden Hazard as a false 9, but I don’t know — it seems weird to spend presumedly a lot of money for a 31-year old pace-dependent striker when they have a couple of young, hungry strikers currently out on loan like Michy Batshuayi and Tammy Abraham. But hey, I don’t run a football club.

Spurs have a tenuous 1-0 lead over Chelsea after the first leg.