Jose Mourinho ready to axe three senior players
Chelsea might be struggling to bring in new players this summer - a cause of concern for Jose Mourinho, by all accounts - but nobody could accuse the Premier League champions of not being prepared to trim the fat from their squad.
Mourinho is reported to be ready to sell three senior players in the coming weeks as he aims to reshape his group, with Juan Cuadrado, Filipe Luis and Mohamed Salah all set to depart Stamford Bridge.
Cuadrado would represent the most significant departure. The Colombia international only arrived at Chelsea in January, costing £26.1million, but has made little impact since then.
There have been suggestions he has failed to settle at Stamford Bride and that he would like to move back to Italy, with reports in South American claiming Juventus are interested in signing him.
But various reports this morning say that Chelsea will demand the entire £26.1million fee they paid to Fiorentina just six months ago in order to complete a deal.
Selling Cuadrado would not diminish Mourinho's options too radically: he already has plenty of attacking cover in wide areas, and with Victor Moses possibly set for a more prominent first team role next season - according to Mark Hughes, at least - he can afford to be sanguine about selling Cuadrado.
The same applies to Salah. The Egypt international spent last season on loan at Fiorentina and is now reported to be ready to move to Roma, again on a temporary basis.
“I see Salah’s future elsewhere, either as a loan or an offer that we are happy to accept," said Mourinho. "At the moment, with Hazard and Willian, Traoré, Moses and Cuadrado, we have five players for these positions. It is better not to have so many.”
The third high-profile Chelsea player to depart will be Luis, who has also failed to establish himself as a first team regular since his move from Atletico Madrid.
The 29-year-old cost Chelsea £15.8million last year but Mourinho is already prepared to see him leave, provided a similar fee can be brought in. Augsburg’s Abdul Rahman Baba has been identified as the No1 target to replace Luis.
“If [Atletico] want [Luis] back then they have to pay and we have to discuss the offer,” Mourinho. “Then we have to react and we have to go in the market.
One other player being linked with a move away from the Bridge is Kurt Zouma, the 20-year-old central defender seen as a possible long-term replacement for John Terry.
Crystal Palace are reported to be interested in signing Zouma on a season-long loan, which might appeal to Mourinho as he seeks to secure more first team experience for the player next term.
The deal could be hastened if, as expected, Chelsea return with an improved offer for the Everton centre-half John Stones.
Leicester City are also interested in signing the midfielder Oriol Romeu on a loan deal, with his chances of breaking into Mourinho's midfield looking slim next season.