The Blues’ star Belgian looks set for the Spanish capital, while a transfer ban also hangs over the Stamford Bridge side
Two cup finals and a third-placed finish mean that Chelsea have had a reasonably successful season in Maurizio Sarri’s first year, but it has been a troubled campaign with several embarrassing results and incidents of audible fan discontent.
Sarri and Jorginho have both been booed by fans, but the club is now one match from glory in the Europa League, after losing the Carabao Cup on penalties to Manchester City.
Chelsea were 25 points off competing for the Premier League title but were the best of a bad bunch among the ‘top six’ as they limped into Champions League qualification. However, it will be regarded as mission accomplished for the club, who get back into Europe’s elite club competition.
A transfer ban hangs over the club this summer which affects the club’s business but, for some of the club’s current group, it won’t have too much of an impact on their futures.
Furthermore, clubs in Italy like Juventus and Roma are looking at Sarri as there is a growing feeling that the 60-year-old may move on after the Europa League final match against Arsenal.
Whoever the Blues boss is for next season may be forced to lean on the loan players at the club, with Sarri having already looked at Reece James and Trevoh Chalobah in training after their moves to Wigan Athletic and Ipswich Town ended.
Gary Cahill has already announced that he will leave Chelsea this summer after a season in the wilderness under Maurizio Sarri.
The England international’s contract will also expire in June 2019 allowing him the chance to leave the club after not being fancied by Sarri for his lack of ball-playing skills. Cahill did come out and criticise Sarri in an interview with the Telegraph, but the Blues boss gave him a send-off regardless in the last home game of the season against Watford.
Another unfancied talent at Chelsea is Ethan Ampadu who has not been able to get as many games under Sarri as he did under the previous manager Antonio Conte.
Ampadu is regarded as one of the top talents in English football and likely won’t be allowed to leave on a permanent deal, with a loan move looking more likely.
Among the loanees, Reece James is attracting interest from a host of clubs including Manchester United and Brighton but he won’t be allowed to leave after a brilliant spell at Wigan Athletic.
He could be incorporated into the squad, while Davide Zappacosta is expected to move on after not making a start for two months under Sarri before being used in the final game of the season against Leicester City.
Lazio are said to have an interest in the Italy international.
This season has seen David Luiz, Cesar Azpilicueta and Marcos Alonso all get new deals, while Emerson Palmieri and Antonio Rudiger are happy at the club, too. All will remain at least for another season.
Kurt Zouma could be recalled if the transfer ban is upheld but he is of interest to Everton, who want to make his loan move permanent. Chelsea’s directors and loan coaches value the Frenchman highly.
IN: Luiz, Azpilicueta, Alonso, Emerson, Rudiger, James, Zouma
OUT: Cahill, Ampadu, Zappacosta
Sarri has instructed Chelsea to sign Mateo Kovacic and the club seem to want the Croatia international and have begun talks. Even with the ban, Chelsea are able to sign the Real Madrid loanee and his parent club want to sell him to raise funds for Zinedine Zidane to reinvest in the transfer market.
Jorginho, N’Golo Kante, Ross Barkley and Ruben Loftus-Cheek are all likely to remain at the club. Mason Mount is being recalled for pre-season, at least, after the club secured him a Japanese visa for their tour. He could be in line to replace Loftus-Cheek, who suffered a Achilles tendon rupture last week.
Danny Drinkwater will likely leave the club after a season of not making a competitive appearance, despite costing the club £35 million upon moving from Leicester City.
There are purchase options in the contracts of loanees Mario Pasalic (Atalanta) and Tiemoue Bakayoko (AC Milan). They will likely be sold, whether to their current clubs or others.
Marco van Ginkel has been on the long term injured list and he will be sold upon recovery, as he has only a year left to go on his contract.
IN: Jorginho, Kante, Barkley, Loftus-Cheek, Kovacic, Mount
OUT: Drinkwater, Van Ginkel, Pasalic, Bakayoko
Real Madrid are confident of signing Chelsea’s Eden Hazard and there have even been reports that a deal has been completed between the two clubs.
Chelsea look powerless to stop their star man from leaving but they will have Christian Pulisic coming in from Borussia Dortmund after signing him for £58m in January, before loaning him back to the Bundesliga side.
Callum Hudson-Odoi is an emerging star and should continue to be given a role in the squad despite Bayern Munich’s dreams of signing the youngster, who recently ruptured his hamstring against Burnley.
Willian and Pedro only have a year remaining on their Chelsea contracts but will stay if the transfer ban is upheld. They are both over 30 and would only get one-year deals if they renew with the Blues.
The transfer ban would cause the biggest problem in the striking department but Olivier Giroud is set to stay due to a clause in his contract allowing Chelsea to extend his deal for another season.
However, doubts remain over whether Gonzalo Higuain can remain at the club after a poor spell in the first six months of his Chelsea loan. Sarri wants to keep him but the club may have other ideas.
There are also doubts over whether loanee pair Tammy Abraham and Michy Batshuayi – at Aston Villa and Crystal Palace respectively – will ever get a chance in west London.
IN: Pulisic, Hudson-Odoi, Willian, Pedro, Giroud
OUT: Hazard, Higuain, Batshuayi, Abraham
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