Chelsea are planning a mass clear-out of more than 10 players in the summer, with Fernando Torres, Ashley Cole and Mikel Obi all set to leave.
Manager Jose Mourinho admitted after Saturday’s 1-0 defeat at Crystal Palace that changes had to be made in order to improve the squad for next season. While the Portuguese again revealed his frustration over his underperforming strikers, a number of players in different positions are on their way out according to a London Evening Standard report.
The senior members of the squad who are vulnerable include Torres, Demba Ba, Samuel Eto’o, David Luiz, Mikel, Cole and back-up goalkeepers Mark Schwarzer and Hilario.
Anxious to adapt to UEFA’s Financial Fair Play rules, the club want to bring down the wage bill, which means they will let Luiz leave for £30m and are prepared to sell some of the 28 players currently loaned out including Romelu Lukaku, Marko Marin, Victor Moses, Ryan Bertrand, Gael Kakuta and Josh McEachran.
Mourinho is determined to make some high-profile signings, including Atletico Madrid forward Diego Costa, to improve their ability to challenge on all fronts and is aware he has to raise funds to bring in the quality he wants.
The club have run out of patience with Torres, who has two years left on his £175,000-a-week contract. He has scored just four League goals this season and if a permanent move cannot be secured, a loan one is a possibility. Ba has confirmed he will be leaving Stamford Bridge after failing to make an impact since joining from Newcastle 15 months ago.
Eto’o has been Chelsea’s best forward with 11 goals and the club have an option to keep him for another season when his contract runs out in May but no decision has been made on that.
Super Eagles midfielder, Mikel has found himself frozen out since Nemanja Matic joined for £21m in January and Chelsea hope he can command a large fee because he has three years left on his contract.
As Standard Sport revealed, the club are also prepared to cash in on Brazil international Luiz. Paris St-Germain and Barcelona are both interested in his services. Significantly, Mourinho substituted Luiz at half-time at Selhurst Park for “tactical reasons” and has rarely played him in his preferred central-defensive role this year.
Chelsea are also confident they can make a significant profit on their loan players. Lukaku has scored 13 goals at Everton but his relationship with Mourinho has soured and he has had a price tag of £20m-plus put on his head.
Moses and Marin, at Liverpool and Sevilla respectively, cost £16m between them in 2012 and are not part of the Chelsea coach’s plans, so permanent moves will be sought.
Mourinho dropped a major hint over his intentions at Selhurst Park. “We want to improve the team and the players and make some surgical movements in the transfer window,” he said.
“Normally at the end of the season, players that are not playing a lot or who are not happy and prefer a change, that is also part of the market.”