Chelsea exodus to begin with three stars signed for £143m, with cash-plus-player deal tipped to give Pochettino perfect start
A much-anticipated Chelsea exodus could begin with three costly signings who could all leave for the same league, and a report claims one particular exit could help a standout star move the opposite way.
In lieu of their colossal outlay over the last two transfer windows, Chelsea are primed to oversee something of a fire sale this summer.
The Evening Standard recently listed no fewer than 15 names who could leave Stamford Bridge at season’s end. To conform with Financial Fair Play regulations, many of the expected exits must come before June 30.
Among the 15-strong list were centre-half Kalidou Koulibaly and winger Hakim Ziyech. Koulibaly was a £33m signing from Napoli just last summer, while Ziyech – a £39m (including add-ons) arrival from Ajax in 2020 – came close to joining PSG in January.
Ziyech’s loan move collapsed when Chelsea repeatedly filed the wrong paperwork. The winter window deadline passed before the error was corrected, leaving the Moroccan fuming at the debacle.
PSG’s interest is understood to have remained, though according to Football Italia, a different move to Serie A could await.
They claim Ziyech is ‘almost certain’ to leave Chelsea this summer and Roma and AC Milan have both shown interest. Whether a loan or permanent move would be explored isn’t stated.
Koulibaly too could move to Italy. Much was expected of the Senegalese who was a veritable colossus at Napoli, though by and large he’s not lived up to the hype since joining Chelsea.
Juventus are hunting an experienced and established centre-back this summer and per Gazzetta dello Sport, Koulibaly is in their sights.
The Evening Standard declared Chelsea are ‘ready to cash in’ on the 31-year-old. However, his high salary will make it difficult for suitors like Juventus to match the player’s personal terms.
Kepa to trade places with Inter Milan ace?
The third high profile Blues star who could find a new home in Italy is goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga.
The 28-year-old remains the world’s most expensive goalkeeper upon being signed from Athletic Bilbao for €80m (approx. £71m) in 2018.
Kepa has been one of very few bright sparks in a season of doom and gloom at Stamford Bridge this year. However, questions still remain as to whether he’s of the calibre Chelsea crave across all areas of the pitch.
With Edouard Mendy on the chopping block too and promising youngster Gabriel Slonina not yet ready to become the No 1, a new starting stopper would be required if Kepa is axed.
To that end, Football Italia tout a cash-plus-player move for Inter Milan’s Andre Onana.
Onana, 27, has been nothing short of sensational at the San Siro this season. His mark of six clean sheets leads the way in the Champions League. He’s also dominating the goals prevented category in that competition, with his mark of 5.7 placing him first ahead of Real Madrid’s Thibaut Courtois on 5.3 goals prevented.
Onana is known to be on Man Utd’s radar too, but ESPN reported a new deal for David de Gea is close to being finalised. If De Gea signs a long-term extension, Erik ten Hag will have no need of Onana too.
As such, the path could be clear for Chelsea to take a shot at Onana and including Kepa as a makeweight might help convince Inter to part ways.
Tottenham are another sizing Onana up. Hugo Lloris’ race is run, but the inclusion of Kepa in any negotiations could give Chelsea an advantage.
Lining up a move for Onana in the early stages of the window would be a mighty fine way to welcome odds-on managerial favourite, Mauricio Pochettino, to Stamford Bridge.
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