Chelsea appear set for a summer exodus as a handful of first-team players appear destined for the exit.
On Thursday, club owner Roman Abramovich was sanctioned by the British government and his assets were frozen.
Chelsea have been granted special permission to continue operating, but the club will not be able to sell match tickets, sell club merchandise and sign players when the transfer window opens.
They will also be unable to negotiate new contracts with existing players and staff, which could prove particularly troublesome in the coming months for both the men’s and women’s side at Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea have four senior players who are expected to be out of contract at the end of the season.
Antonio Rudiger, Cesar Azplicueta, Andreas Christensen and Charly Musonda are the senior players entering the final months of their deals, with the club managing their respective situations.
Rudiger has been in exceptional form and proven himself as one of the best defenders in world football.
Although he hasn’t signed a new contract, the Germany international is attracting substantial interest from Real Madrid, Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester United, who are all said to be keen to sign him.
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Azpilicueta is also out of contract, with the Chelsea skipper, a hugely popular figure at Stamford Bridge, having been there for ten years.
Christensen is another player coming to the end of his contract, and with Barcelona seemingly close to agreeing a deal to bring him to the Nou Camp, the prospect of him staying in west London is now at best. minimal, while Musonda has already confirmed his intention to leave the club this summer.
Before the sanctions were announced and the club put up for sale, manager Thomas Tuchel had expressed hope that Christensen would stay.
“There’s no need to go now because he’s right on the edge of finally taking the next, two, three steps at Chelsea,” he said. “I don’t think he’s done here.”
But with Chelsea powerless to negotiate new contracts with any of their players, it seems all but confirmed that the quartet will move on at the end of the season.
Saul Niguez’s future also appears to have been decided, with Chelsea now unable to activate the option to buy in his loan deal with Atletico Madrid which expires this summer.
talkSPORT host Simon Jordan was asked about the players’ contract situation and expressed his belief that it was “the least of Chelsea’s worries”.
He told White and Jordan: “There was clearly doubt in their minds anyway as they hadn’t signed and they are in the final three months of their existing contracts.
“With that in mind, they could have ended up in a situation where a new ownership model comes into play, regardless of the current sanctions, Roman Abramovich didn’t want those players.
“I think that’s the least of the concerns of Chelsea fans and Chelsea’s situation.
“The situation will quickly wind up in a resolution unless Roman Abramovich decides that the things he said are not the things he is going to do.
“I find it very difficult to calculate because I think the man is trying to run away. He is trying to get out of the public domain and does not want to prolong his presence there.