Frank Lampard has admitted Callum Hudson-Odoi could leave Chelsea before the transfer window closes next month.
The 19-year-old will make his first start of the season on Wednesday night as the Blues host Barnsley in their EFL Cup third-round clash at Stamford Bridge (stream live on ESPN+ at 2:45 p.m. ET in U.S.) amid mounting speculation over his future.
Hudson-Odoi only signed a five-year contract in September 2019, but has seen competition for the wide places grow with Chelsea signing Hakim Ziyech, Kai Havertz and Timo Werner this summer.
The England international has played just 10 minutes so far and Lampard refused to rule out the possibility of Hudson-Odoi moving on with Bayern Munich among several clubs interested in taking him on loan.
Asked directly whether Hudson Odoi and Antonio Rudiger would stay at the club beyond the Oct. 5 deadline, Lampard said: "I'm going to skirt around that question. It remains to be seen.
"We're not in a period where the transfer window or market is acting like it has done in recent years in terms of how players move or what level they move at. The competitive games have just started. I'm very open to those conversations with the players as the next couple of weeks go on.
"My priority will always be making sure I maintain and keep the strongest squad I can for this club, but after that, of course, the individual conversations will happen within that. I will try and make sure I go into the season once the window shuts with the squad that I feel is healthy and competitive in a healthy way.
"At the moment we have Christian Pulisic injured, Hakim Ziyech injured. We played Timo Werner out wide the other day, but the absolute natural winger who is fit at the minute is Callum.
"We know in a Premier League squad and the number of games we're going to play, we need competition in those areas, back-ups in those areas and players competing to make that position their own.
"That's where Callum is at and that's why I keep saying he needs to train, he needs to show in training every day and when he gets his opportunity in games, which he will have because he will play against Barnsley. He has to show in every minute, on and off the ball, what he can do for the team and that's the position Callum is at, at the minute.
"He's had an early breakthrough in his career because of his talent, he's had an injury and now I want to see him flourish again."
Chelsea are set to complete the £20 million signing of goalkeeper Edouard Mendy from Rennes, taking their total outlay to £220m on seven players.
The influx has left Lampard seeking to reduce the size of his squad with several players likely to depart including Emerson Palmieri and Tiemoue Bakayoko, while Fikayo Tomori could still leave on loan with Everton interested in taking the centre-back to Goodison Park.
"There are decisions for me to take, for the club to make and for the players themselves to make," said Lampard. "That's the situation now. Of course, I have an idea of the number in the squad I want to make the squad have healthy competition but not to have so many players not competing regularly and feeling like they're out of squads and not getting the minutes they want.
"Those are very much conversations I will have going forward. It doesn't mean that we're forced in any one of those positions or areas to move players on. But those conversations will be ongoing over the next couple of weeks."