In the aftermath of initial sanctions from the UK government, Chelsea are finding themselves in quite a sticky situation. Chelsea are not allowed to make any profit, while Abramovich cannot make any profit on the club, while there are limitations on if he is actually allowed to sell the club. The club merchandise store has permanently closed, whilst only season-ticketed fans are allowed to continue coming to games for the rest of the season (as well as those that have already purchased tickets). The club even has limitations on how much it can spend for travel and expenses for away games. In the same realm, players cannot sign new contracts, so we may very well see some high-profile departures from Chelsea this summer. So who could leave?
German center-back Rudiger joined Chelsea in 2017 and has since become a key player at the club. Despite being a peripheral figure under previous manager Lampard, Rudiger has truly cemented his place in Tuchel’s back three. However, stalling on a new contract may have ultimately spelled the end for Rudiger’s time at the club. Negotiations have long been ongoing, with disputes about money being the primary issue. Perhaps Rudiger was letting other clubs garner interest in order to obtain the best deal possible from Chelsea; with clubs such as Bayern and Real Madrid expressing interest. Whatever the case, it now seems that Rudiger will have no choice but to depart Stamford Bridge this summer. So where could he go? Manchester United and Newcastle have been labelled as suitors if he desires to stay in the Premier League, whilst Bayern of the Bundesliga are definitely interested, but likely can’t offer the wages that other clubs can. Spain is also an option- Real Madrid, Barcelona; perhaps even Juventus in Italy. Rudiger will not be short of options, that’s for sure.
Unlike Rudiger, Danish Christensen actually came through the Chelsea academy, having joined in 2012. Having spent some time out on loan, Christensen finally broke into the first team and is another important center-back for Thomas Tuchel. Losing two incredible center-backs will surely be problematic for Tuchel, especially if he can’t replace them in the summer. One of the remaining center-backs is 37 year-old Thiago Silva. Silva is a top center-back, but might not be able to play week-in-week-out. Christensen has long been linked with Barcelona, and was tipped to sign a five year contract with the Catalan side prior to the issues Abramovich and Chelsea are facing. It now seems that Christensen is destined to sign for Barcelona this summer, while Chelsea are set to lose a center-back who hasn’t even reached his prime yet.
Spanish defender Azpilicueta has been a mainstay in the Chelsea defense for the last ten years. Azpilicueta is also the current club captain, can play in a variety of positions and is truly a key player at the London-side. Azpilicueta was already flirting with a move to Barcelona, mostly for thinking about his long term future. Chelsea are known for giving their over 30s one year contracts, while Barcelona could secure his long-term future while allowing him to return to Spain. It now seems inevitable that Azpilicueta will move to Barcelona this summer, potentially joining his team mate, Christensen.
Aged 25 now, it is disappointing to see that Musonda still hasn’t really gotten his career up and running. The winger came to Chelsea in 2012 with a lot of hype, tipped to become a world-class player. Unfortunately, Musonda suffered a posterior cruciate ligament injury while on loan at Vitesse- with doctors even rating his chances of returning to the game at a low 20%. However, he has recovered and has been training with the Chelsea u23s this season with a view to a permanent move at the end of the year. Considering Chelsea can’t bring anyone else in, and there will certainly be some departures this summer, Musonda could well have broken back into the first team had he been under contract. Now it looks certain that Musonda will be leaving, with the hope he can finally find a club that will utilize his talents.
Chelsea will surely hope that the situation resolves itself soon, otherwise they may find further struggles down the road.