It’s been a difficult season for Chelsea, for not only has their Premier League title defence gone up in smoke fairly early but they have been exposed on a number of occasions in Europe and speculation is rife that manager Antonio Conte may be getting rid of some deadweight with the winter transfer window officially open.
For the defending champions have largely been sub-par, with few Blues players justifying their hefty wages and while there’s plenty still to play for, The Statesman takes a look at five Chelsea players that could depart Stamford Bridge in January:
Antonio Conte’s time at Chelsea has been an eventful one, for despite winning the league on his debut season, the Italian manager had a spectacular falling-out with star striker Diego Costa and this time he’s been at loggerheads with David Luiz.
Luiz, a player who capable of conjuring magic and committing a blunder in the same game, is currently recuperating from a knee injury, hasn’t played since a 4-0 win over Qarabag FK on November 22.
When Chelsea paid Paris Saint-Germain £34 million in 2016 to re-sign the Brazilian, many criticised the club’s transfer policy as they felt the error-prone defender wasn’t an astute buy.
Credit to Luiz and Conte, however, as the 30-year-old shone at the heart of Chelsea’s defend enroute to a Premier League title, but things are drastically different this season.
The Blues are effectively out of the title race and their defensive record has been quite poor on the whole.
A player of Luiz’s stature will have no shortage of suitors and the names listed below suggest a mid-season move isn’t mere fantasy.
Arsenal desperately need a defender, but will Conte allow a direct rival to get strengthened?
Unlikely, and a move abroad seems like a win-win for all parties, unless of course, Conte and Luiz kiss and make up.
Interested sides: Barcelona, AC Milan, Juventus, Arsenal
Michy Batshuayi may have won the Premier League title with Chelsea, but the Belgian’s time in West London has been a frustrating one for him personally for sure.
An understudy to Diego Costa first, and then to Alvaro Morata, the likeable forward is in serious danger of missing out on Roberto Martinez’s Belgium squad for the 2018 FIFA World Cup if he continues to remain a bit-part player.
Despite making a number of memorable appearances over the past one and half seasons, one struggles to recall the last Premier League/UEFA Champions League game the 24-year-old started in and scored.
The fact that whenever Morata has been injured or suspended this season, Conte has opted to utilise winger Eden Hazard as a false-nine rather than call upon Batshuayi is a damming one indeed.
At 24, the 6’1 striker still has plenty of time to turn around his career, but he needs to be at a club where he is the first-choice centre forward.
Considering Chelsea spent £31.5 million to acquire his services in 2016, the Blues will be understandably reluctant to let him depart on a permanent move in January and a loan move may seem like an ideal stop-gap solution.
Rafa Benitez’s side are lacking a goalscorer and none of their forwards have been particularly impressive for the goal-shy Magpies this season, while Ligue 1 side AS Monaco are eyeing Batshuayi as well.
Interested parties: Newcastle United, AS Monaco
Moving to Chelsea in 2015 was a dream move for the young Baba Rahman, but after a decent start, the Ghanaian has fallen of the radar.
One of Jose Mourinho’s final signings, the 23-year-old was shipped off on loan to Bundesliga side FC Schalke 04 in August 2016 by Antonio Conte, with the Italian allegedly telling him to move elsewhere as he didn’t fit into his philosophy.
Ominous words for the Ghanian, who has not seen a single minute of first-team action this season, after failing to engineer a move away from Stamford Bridge in the summer.
Most of that can be attributed to the fact that he’s been recuperating from an ACL injury the left-back suffered while playing for Ghana at the AFCON, but it would be hard for him to be able to dislodge Marcos Alonso from the starting XI even when he is operating at full fitness.
Schalke sold Sead Kolasinac to Arsenal in the summer of 2017 and are said to be keen on an another loan deal, but the likes of Everton and Fiorentina are interested in the 5’10 fullback as well.
A transfer is unlikley, especially if one considers the severity of his injury, but a loan move is very much on the cards, the only doubt being over where the Ghanian will end up.
Interested parties: Fiorentina, FC Shakle 04, Fenerbahce, Everton
Among the most talented players to have come through the ranks at Chelsea, the 21-year-old Musonda is a crossroads in his fledgling career.
After two fruitful spells with La Liga side Real Betis, Musonda was kept in the Chelsea squad for the 2017-18 season, but with half the campaign over, the Belgian has played a total of just 26 minutes in the Premier League.
Musonda saw action in the EFL Cup, but the Premier League is the real deal and the 5’8 winger has struggled to break into Conte’s starting XI despite signing a new contract with the club in October.
Competing for a spot with the likes of Pedro, Willian and Eden Hazard, it’s perhaps no surprise why the youngster is struggling to see regular action.
With Celtic reportedly considering selling Moussa Dembele to Bournemouth, Musodna would be a like-for-like replacement for their star asset and don’t be surprised if the Bhoys swoop in for a permanent deal.
Inter Milan and Sevilla are monitoring Musonda’s situation as well and considering his La Liga experience, Musonda could just move on a half-season loan to the Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán.
Interested parties: Inter Milan, Sevilla, Celtic
It’s been a tough 2017 for Kenedy, for not only did he watch from the sidelines as his teammates romped to the Premier League title in May, but he committed a major faux pas during the Blues’ pre-season tour of China ahead of the 2017-18 season.
The fullback, who despite possessing plenty of talent, has been unable to make the left-back slot his own, was publicly reprimanded by the club and had to be sent back from the tour.
If that ignominy wasn’t enough, the 21-year-old saw his loan deal to Newcastle United break down on deadline day and he was marooned in West London with a manager who clearly doesn’t like him.
For the attack-minded Kenedy is a player in similar vein to the aforementioned Baba Rahman and unless Marcos Alonso gets injured, the Brazilian is unlikely to see much first-team action for the Blues.
The Magpies will most certainly come around for him yet again and while his injuries record, especially during his ill-fated loan term with Watford in the 2016-17 season, isn’t exactly soothing, don’t bet on the South American staying in West London beyond the January 31 deadline.
Interested parties: Lokomotiv Moscow, Newcastle United, St Etienne
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