Chelsea have recalled defender Nathan Ake early from his season-long loan at Bournemouth with immediate effect.
Dutchman Ake, 21, joined the Cherries on loan last June, and has scored three times in 12 games for them this season.
On Saturday, Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe said losing Ake would be “a huge blow”.
Howe added: “He’s done so well. It is easier said than done to say we are going to go and recruit a player of a similar stature to Nathan.”
“With Simon Francis’ suspension and Marc Pugh’s injury and now Nathan going back, our defensive resources are certainly stretched.”
Ake’s return to Stamford Bridge has largely been forced by Antonio Conte’s failure to sign Ricardo Rodriguez and Alex Sandro.
Chelsea are currently 5 points ahead of Liverpool in race to win the Premier League title this season and Ake would enable Conte another reliable option in Chelsea’s defense.