The uncertainty over Chelsea’s ownership looks to be coming to an end with Todd Boehly’s £4.25billion takeover expected to be completed imminently. The same, however, cannot be said for their playing staff.
Boehly’s first job will be to meet Blues boss Thomas Tuchel’s demands of buying four new defenders this summer, with Sportsmail confirming the interest in Sevilla defender Jules Kounde, while Josko Gvardiol of RB Leipzig is another reported target.
The reason for that overhaul at the back is because of the numbers Chelsea are set to lose in defence, with Tuchel already confirming one departure at centre-back and another set to follow. But it is not the only area of concern.
Todd Boehly’s £4.25billion takeover of Chelsea is expected to be completed imminently
Thomas Tuchel’s wants four new defenders this summer, but plenty of players could leave too
The Telegraph reported there are currently issues around 14 players at the west London club in the 26-man squad that finished the season by beating Watford last weekend.
So with all that in mind, who is bound for the Stamford Bridge exit already, and who could follow them in leaving?
Here, Sportsmail takes a look at the situation the 14 names find themselves in at the club…
Certainly leaving Chelsea for Real Madrid this summer after five successful years with the west London club.
The Germany star signed a four-year contract with the Spanish side worth in the region of £315,000-per-week – and which includes a £340million release clause – earlier this month.
An official announcement is expected soon from the club who offered a £230,000-per-week deal for him to stay at Stamford Bridge.
Having been such a colossal presence at the back over the past couple of seasons, the 29-year-old’s departure will probably be the most painful for the Blues this summer.
Antonio Rudiger will join Real Madrid on a free transfer, having signed a four-year contract
Another Chelsea centre-back heading for Spain on a free transfer this summer, but to Real’s rivals Barcelona.
Sportsmail understands the Dane has agreed a five-year deal to join the Catalan giants ahead of next season after rejecting Chelsea’s attempts to renegotiate an extension.
Some sections of the fanbase will not be sad to see him go, especially after he asked to be left out of the FA Cup final defeat by Liverpool despite not being injured.
Mistakes have also creeped into his game over the past couple of months, and he is now set to become the latest member of Xavi’s revolution in Catalonia.
Andreas Christensen has agreed a five-year deal to join Barcelona ahead of next season
Perhaps one of the most confusing situations which needs resolving is that of the captain, who could be allowed to join Christensen at Barcelona.
The 32-year-old Spaniard has given a decade of excellent service but Tuchel did not appear convinced he would be sticking around, despite Azpilicueta triggering a contract extension earlier in the campaign.
Tuchel said: ‘It felt like he won everything after the Club World Cup, then suddenly given his personal situation I can understand these thoughts that maybe a cycle is at its end.
‘Then it’s a change of ownership and he played only under this owner, in this structure, so it maybe increased even his second thoughts about his situation.
Cesar Azpilicueta could be allowed to join Barcelona despite an extension being triggered earlier this season
‘Then his (contract) extension kicked in at the same time and he loves the club, he loves the challenge, he loves to be here and he is our captain… Given the fact we lose already key defenders, it’s not the ideal scenario to think about losing Azpi, even if I can understand his personal point of view.
‘We still have time because we are also in the privileged position where we have a contract. We have to see… I would hope strongly, he knows this (Chelsea want to keep him), he knows it. We are still in the talks to find out the ideal solution.’
The decision Azpilicueta comes to when he weighs up a two-year deal with the option for a third in Spain against a chance to see out his career in west London and potentially win further silverware as a legend will ultimately determine his next move.
Injury brought his season to an end prematurely but it was ultimately another campaign in which the German huffed and puffed and received criticism for his inconsistency in front of goal.
The Telegraph report the 26-year-old would be open to a move should a bid arrive and Borussia Dortmund were linked with handing him an escape route back in January.
Just 11 goals this term is unlikely to have convinced Tuchel he is the long-term answer at Stamford Bridge, even if he has been part of Champions League, Club World Cup and Super Cup-winning sides.
Romelu Lukaku’s stance on his future could also have a huge bearing especially if he finds a suitor and wishes to leave.
But for the time being it appears at the moment Werner will be given one more year before a decision is made in 2023 when he will have two years left on his deal.
Timo Werner had another indifferent campaign in front of goal but is likely to stay put
Another player who could be sold after a mixed campaign in front of goal in the 2021-22 season.
Eight goals and five assists from 38 games is by no means a terrible return but demands at Chelsea are higher, especially for a team hoping to gain ground on Man City and Liverpool.
Reports in recent days suggest the American international will meet Blues chiefs to discuss his future at the club, even though his reported priority is to stay at Stamford Bridge.
Pulisic has also made some fans worried after deleting ‘Chelsea FC’ from his Instagram bio and changing his profile picture from one of him in a Chelsea kit to one without.
That is unlikely to suggest any move is imminent, and with Tuchel a fan of the player you would expect him to stick around, even though a departure for the ex-Borussia Dortmund star cannot be totally dismissed until those talks take place.
Christian Pulisic reportedly wants to stay but will meet club chiefs to discuss his future
There was plenty of expectation surrounding Ziyech following his arrival in 2020 from Ajax but he is now nothing more than a bit-part player under Tuchel.
That is reflected in the fact he started just 14 of his 23 appearances – scoring four goals in the process – in the recently concluded Premier League season, and reports again suggest he is considered a player who Chelsea would listen to offers for.
The winger is said to be on a £100,000-a-week contract and clearing him off the wage bill would represent a big saving.
But ultimately he is in the same position as Werner with three years remaining on his contract, so could be handed one last season to try and make an impression on Chelsea’s right-hand side.
Hakim Ziyech has become a bit-part player under Tuchel but may well remain in west London
Another Chelsea star reportedly interesting Barcelona, the left-back is also on the verge of entering the final year of his contract.
The Spaniard is an excellent attacking outlet for the Blues but he has rarely convinced in a defensive sense.
It is what is believed to have caused Tuchel to be visibly upset with him during a draw with Wolves at Stamford Bridge towards the end of the season, and clear-the-air talks had to be held between the pair.
Defence is no doubt the priority though this summer and Chelsea will likely look to rejuvenate their left-hand side to give the returning Ben Chilwell competition from a younger option.
Alonso may well be set then for a move to link up with Christensen and perhaps Azpilcueta at Camp Nou.
Marcos Alonso is another Spaniard who could head for Barcelona with a year left on his deal
The most expensive goalkeeper in history at £72m has made just 11 Premier League appearances over the past two seasons.
The Spaniard made waves at Athletic Bilbao prior to his move to Stamford Bridge and now surely will be wanting to elevate his game back to the level it was at in northern Spain.
That does appear to be the case with Tuchel revealing Arrizabalaga’s dissatisfaction with his No 2 status at the club.
Kepa Arrizabalaga is not happy with being No 2 and is on a list of targets for Newcastle
‘I know for sure that Kepa is not happy about the situation and he deserves to play more and he can be a strong number one,’ Tuchel said earlier this month.
The German boss added the club will sit down with the 27-year-old’s representatives and he is not short of suitors, with Sportsmail revealing in March Newcastle have him on a list of targets to provide competition for Martin Dubravka.
Whether the Magpies or other Spanish clubs also interested firm up their interest and whether he would be happy not to be a guaranteed starter again remains to be seen, but it looks increasingly likely his future lies away from Stamford Bridge.
A Spain international who has endured a difficult loan at Stamford Bridge, which began when he was hauled off at half-time on his Blues debut in September.
The 27-year-old has made just five league appearances in 2022 having failed to climb up Tuchel’s pecking order since.
The Blues are said to have an option to make the move permanent, but despite Tuchel insisting he is ‘very grateful’ for his contribution and refusing to rule out the chance of him staying, Saul looks set for a return to Atletico Madrid.
His brother said earlier in the season: ‘He is Atlético and everything that isn’t Atlético sounds strange to him. I don’t think he’s ever left 100 per cent of Atlético Madrid. It’s my feeling and my opinion.’
Saul Niguez has failed to make any sort of impact and will likely return to Atletico Madrid
Ross Barkley scored Chelsea’s final goal of the season with a last-gasp, match-winning header against Watford on the final day of the season.
And should he depart Stamford Bridge in the summer, he will have left on a higher note than most of his team-mates. Tuchel also commended his behaviour throughout the season after the game.
But ultimately a move would come after another season in which he has seen limited minutes, playing just 452 minutes in 14 matches across all competitions.
Reports ahead of the January transfer window suggested Barkley was determined to stay and win trophies in west London despite interest from Newcastle.
But with the Magpies’ revival under Eddie Howe and no sign of minutes for him increasing in Tuchel’s side next term, Barkley could well be tempted to make the move to the north east to get his once-blazing career back on track.
Ross Barkley finished the season with a bang but would be well-advised to move on
Probably shocked many fans by being selected in Tuchel’s starting XI for the match against Watford, and joined Barkley in being a Blues outcast who starred.
The Brazilian wing-back marauded up and down the Chelsea left and made an impact by setting up Kai Havertz’s opener.
However, it was the 26-year-old’s first Premier League appearance of the season since being recalled as an emergency from his loan spell at Flamengo on January.
That exclusion has come in a side that has persisted somewhat reluctantly with Alonso and even at times has had Malang Sarr playing the position.
His contract expires next summer and in all probability his performance on the final day of the season will have worked more as an incentive for interested parties like Leeds to make their move, rather than an indication of a possible future at Chelsea.
Kenedy impressed against Watford too but his performance was an invitation for Leeds to firm up their interest
The Frenchman has just one year remaining on his contract and that situation always sends shivers down the spine of fans when it comes to their key players.
He also remained coy on his future earlier this month, telling Sky Sports: ‘The only thing that is sure is that I have one more year on my contract. It’s not really my concern.
‘The only thing [on my mind] is to finish the season well. I’ll think about it at the right time but I just want to finish the season as best as possible.’
Now the season is over crunch time has arrived for Kante, and despite talk of burn out and suffering a series of injuries, he still remains a critical player under Tuchel.
Manchester United have emerged as a shock destination but if that is alternative, both Chelsea and Kante would be well minded to come to some sort of agreement in the near future.
N’Golo Kante was coy on his Blues future and has left the new owners with a decision to make
Another player the club need to make a decision on is the Italian midfielder, who is also in the final 12 months of his deal.
He has been heavily linked with a return to Serie A, with Juventus reportedly keen on recruiting both him and Manchester United star Paul Pogba.
Juventus sporting director Federico Cherubini has reportedly already flown in to London to begin talks with Chelsea over the central midfielder’s signature after forming a positive relationship with the player and his team in recent months.
There has been plenty of talk around the 30-year-old’s future and the club may therefore see this as the chance for the player to get his wish of a return to his home country and for the Blues to promote or seek younger alternatives.
Jorginho also has just 12 months left and has long been linked with a move to Juventus
No one would have expected the Belgian striker to be on this list when his £98m return to Stamford Bridge was confirmed last summer.
But he scored just eight Premier League goals in 2021-22, and that after a promising start, having ultimately failed to find a place in Tuchel’s system.
The Telegraph claim the 29-year-old and his representatives will seek talks with the club over the striker’s future.
What form those talks take are yet uncertain, but it would be unlikely the Blues would be willing to take a massive hit on him, given few in Europe – including Inter Milan – could afford anywhere near his price tag.
But if he is to remain at the club, they will likely have to present some form of plan to explain how he will fit in better next season in his attempts to turn his fortunes around.
Romelu Lukaku endured a frustrating first season back at Chelsea and will seek talks with chiefs