Chelsea fire sale: Who could leave and where?

Chelsea’s financial accounts have led to speculation over a fire sale at Stamford Bridge this summer, as the Blues look to balance the books.

The west Londoners posted losses of of £121m for the 2021/22 season, accounts which followed a loss of £153.4 million for the previous season. Following an extraordinary spend since Todd Boehly’s arrival as the club’s new owner, reports have suggested that Chelsea will need to make ‘substantial sales’ before June 30 to meet the Premier League’s financial rules.

With a clear-out expected at Chelsea to reduce Graham Potter’s bloated squad, we look at the names who could move on and the clubs expected to show interest.

Mason Mount

Mason Mount could be the headline departure from Chelsea after talks over a new contract with the midfielder were paused. Mount has been named as Chelsea’s Player of the Season in each of the past two campaigns, but is understood to have felt undervalued in negotiations when compared to the lucrative contracts handed out to new signings.

Mount appears to be edging closer to an exit and will enter the final 12 months of his deal this summer. Chelsea will look to sell the 24-year-old if an extension is not agreed in order to remove the risk of losing the England midfielder for free in 2024.

Liverpool have been strongly linked with a move for Mount, as Jurgen Klopp looks to rebuild his midfield. Mount would add some much needed intensity to the Reds’ engine room, though Liverpool are unlikely to be alone in their interest with Manchester United and Manchester City understood to be monitoring the situation.

Bayern Munich – who appointed former Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel last week – have also emerged as contenders to sign the midfielder, who could command a fee north of £50m.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s underwhelming return to the Premier League looks set to end this summer, after the forward was frozen out under Graham Potter.

Aubameyang has started just one Premier League fixture since early November and has not been included in the Chelsea squad for five of their last seven league fixtures. The 33-year-old – who has scored just one Premier League goal for Chelsea – was denied a January return to former club Barcelona due to FIFA rules and turned down interest from MLS.

Expect the Gabon international to be offloaded this summer and he remains ‘appreciated by Barcelona’ according to Fabrizio Romano. Any return to the Spanish side would be dependent on a lack of fee and Barcelona’s ability to meet La Liga’s FFP demands.

Hakim Ziyech

Hakim Ziyech was at the centre of deadline day drama in January as the winger’s loan from Chelsea to Paris Saint-Germain collapsed.

The Ligue 1 club alleged that Chelsea had sent through incorrect paperwork as the two clubs looked to finalise the agreement, with Ziyech left frustrated after the transfer fell through. The Moroccan has returned to the squad but has not been involved in Chelsea’s last three league gams.

Ziyech has underwhelmed since his move to the Premier League from Ajax and has made just six league starts this season, producing just one assist and no goals. PSG could return for the 30-year-old, who has also previously been linked with AC Milan, Tottenham and former club Ajax.

Christian Pulisic

Christian Pulisic has failed to kick on since a promising debut season at Chelsea, with the American’s impact in part hampered by consistent injury problems.

Pulisic remains a player of rich potential, but may require a fresh start in order to reach his ceiling. The January additions of Joao Felix, Mykhaylo Mudryk and Noni Madueke indicated Chelsea’s lack of faith in their wide options and Pulisic has been afforded just seven Premier League starts in 2022/23.

Newcastle are said to be keen on the 24-year-old, who was signed in a £58m deal from Borussia Dortmund in 2019. Chelsea would expect to make a loss on that figure, but Pulisic – who has scored 23 goals in 58 appearances for the USA – is among the most saleable assets who have struggled for status at Stamford Bridge.

Romelu Lukaku

Romelu Lukaku’s return to Chelsea must rank among the Premier League’s worst ever transfer deals. Signed in a club record £97.5m deal from Inter Milan, the forward failed to make the desired impact and – after irking the Chelsea fans will an ill-advised interview to Italian media – was allowed to rejoin Inter on loan for the 2022/23 campaign.

Lukaku has scored just five goals during an injury-hit campaign at the San Siro and Inter CEO Beppe Marotta has confirmed the Belgian will return to Chelsea when his loan deal expires. The Athletic report that Inter have not ‘closed the door’ on re-signing Lukaku, but would need significant financial compromise from Chelsea to facilitate a deal.

Chelsea face a sizeable problem should interest not emerge in Lukaku, who became the club’s highest paid player when arriving in 2021 and is contracted until 2026. The 29-year-old scored four goals – including a hat-trick against Sweden – in two games during the international break and Chelsea will hope this is the start of a return to form as Lukaku rebuilds value.

Mateo Kovacic

Mateo Kovacic could become a surprise casualty of Chelsea’s clear-out, amid reports the club have not entered discussions over a new deal for the midfielder.

Kovacic will have just one season left on his contract this summer, a situation which could lead to an exit. Manchester City are said to be monitoring developments, while Bayern Munich could also enter the race as Thomas Tuchel considers a reunion with the Croatia international.

The Evening Standard report that there is a growing feeling that Kovacic could move on at the end of the campaign, despite being handed the captain’s armband for recent fixtures in the absence of Cesar Azpilicueta and Thiago Silva.

Conor Gallagher

Conor Gallagher has failed to make the desired impact since returning to Chelsea last summer, having made just ten league starts this season. Gallagher excelled on loan at Crystal Palace last season and was named as the Eagles Player of the Year.

The 23-year-old turned down interest from Premier League sides to remain at Chelsea last summer, with the midfielder determined to break into the side where he came through the ranks.

However, Gallagher faces a decision this summer after struggling for regular first-team football. He has remained in the England squad despite a lack of minutes this season, but will need to increase his game-time to remain part of Gareth Southgate’s plans.

There will be no shortage of suitors for the midfielder whose endless endeavour and tenacious work is admired across the division. Newcastle and Everton have expressed interest, while Crystal Palace would be keen to bring Gallagher back to the club. West Ham will also consider an approach, with Gallagher a potential box-to-box replacement for Declan Rice at the London Stadium.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek

Ruben Loftus-Cheek made his debut for Chelsea almost a decade ago, but the midfielder has struggled to build on his potential and become a fixture at Stamford Bridge.

The 27-year-old has started 16 league games for Chelsea this season – the most in his career with the club – and has impressed in an unorthodox wing-back role on occasion, but could be allowed to move this summer with his contract set to expire in 2024.

AC Milan have been linked with a move to sign the midfielder, who finds himself behind a number of names in the pecking order at Chelsea. He could join fellow Chelsea product Fikayo Tomori and ex-teammate Olivier Giroud at the San Siro.

A figure in excess of £20m could persuade Chelsea to sell the academy graduate as the club look to balance the books this summer.

Callum Hudson-Odoi

Chelsea have brought in some sizeable fees from the sales of academy graduates in recent transfer windows, with Tammy Abraham, Fikayo Tomori and Marc Guehi earning the club a wind-fall of around £77m.

Callum Hudson-Odoi could join the home-grown exodus after struggling to build on his exciting emergence in west London. Hudson-Odoi made just 11 league starts under Thomas Tuchel last season and was allowed to leave on loan for Bayer Leverkusen last summer.

He has underwhelmed in the Bundesliga and has failed to score in 13 league appearances for the German side this season. The 22-year-old will return to Chelsea once his loan expires, where Graham Potter might choose to run the rule over Hudson-Odoi in pre-season. His is a case of potential unfulfilled at present.

Read – Golazos – Six stunning goals from the international break

Read Also – Checking in on the impact of the Premier League’s most expensive January signings

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