Replace Rudiger and Christensen, return Lukaku to sender and try to convince Rice to snub United and City for Stamford Bridge… Chelsea’s mounting to-do list ahead of a HUGE summer overhaul (and all while getting to grips with their new owners!)
- Chelsea have had a whirlwind few months on and off the football pitch
- Their to-do list is growing, with players set to leave and new owners coming in
- Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen must be replaced at centre back
- Romelu Lukaku must go – and they need to convince Declan Rice to join them
For Chelsea fans, it would be something of an underestimation to describe this season as a rollercoaster ride.
There have been incredible highs – winning the Club World Cup and reaching the FA Cup final – but also worrying lows when Russian owner Roman Abramovich was sanctioned by the UK government.
Right now, the Blues are in a state of flux, edging towards a massive summer of change both on and off the field of play.
By the time next season begins, there will be new owners at the helm and plenty of fresh faces among the squad.
It is an ever-growing to-do list – and here, Sportsmail takes a look at the items the Stamford Bridge hierarchy need to start ticking off…
It is a weird time for Chelsea fans, with only season-ticket holders able to attend their matches
Thomas Tuchel is preparing for a huge summer overhaul both on and off the football pitch
It is never ideal to have to replace one of your starting centre backs heading into the summer, let alone two of the most prominent names on the team-sheet.
There has been plenty of speculation over the futures of Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen, but that looks to be coming to an end now… and it’s not the end Chelsea fans will have hoped for.
The influential pair – in particular Rudiger, who has played 28 of the Blues’ 32 league games – are both heading for the exit, with the German edging towards a move to Real Madrid and Christensen likely to join Barcelona.
While LaLiga will be stronger for their arrival, Chelsea will be significantly weaker, and Thomas Tuchel will be desperate to sign a new defensive partner for the 37-year-old Thiago Silva.
Both Andreas Christensen (left) and Antonio Rudiger look set to leave Stamford Bridge
Sevilla star Jules Kounde (left) is among the club’s top targets as they eye a new centre back
Malang Sarr and Trevoh Chalobah are both young, impressive talents, but the club will be very keen to secure a top-level centre back to help them with their title challenge in 2022-23.
Sevilla’s Jules Kounde is a prominent option, with the Evening Standard reporting that he is top of their list, with Leicester’s Wesley Fofana another potential arrival.
Frustratingly for Chelsea, they have sold Marc Guehi, Fikayo Tomori and Kurt Zouma in recent seasons, only to watch them go on and flourish elsewhere. What they’d do to get them back to the Bridge.
Return Lukaku to sender
When Lukaku arrived back at Chelsea with unfinished business last summer, there was plenty of fanfare and a £98million price tag attached to the move.
Since then, it’s fair to say it’s been an unmitigated disaster. He has scored five goals in 22 Premier League appearances this season, being outscored by Mason Mount, Kai Havertz and Jorginho. Incredibly, right back Reece James has the same amount of goals as him – and in two fewer games.
Lukaku looks a shadow of the player who scored 24 goals at Inter Milan last season, and has been seen on the bench more often than he has the pitch in recent weeks.
In truth, it may well be time for Chelsea to cut their losses and accept defeat on this one… he’s been at the club twice and both times, it’s just not worked.
Star striker Romelu Lukaku has looked a shell of the player he was at Inter Milan last season
Lukaku was brilliant under Antonio Conte at Inter last year, but has struggled back at Chelsea
GiveMeSport are reporting that the Blues are ‘very likely’ to look at selling the Belgian, with PSG and Inter Milan both circling.
A return to Serie A with his former side will of course be tempting for Lukaku, while the chance to play with the likes of Lionel Messi and Neymar in France is also an exciting proposition.
What’s for sure, though, is that he will not want another season like this one – and neither will Chelsea.
Get the cheque-book out for Rice
Another another brilliant season for West Ham, Declan Rice is set to be among the most sought-after players in the Premier League this summer… but he won’t come cheap.
David Moyes has been quick to hike up the price-tag of his star Hammer, with offers under the £100m mark likely to be laughed out of east London.
Manchester United and Manchester City both want to take him north, but Chelsea may also have an attractive offer for him to stay in the capital.
Although Conor Gallagher is set to return from his excellent loan spell at Crystal Palace, the centre of midfield is a problem position Tuchel wants to strengthen in, and a player of Rice’s calibre could be the difference between a solid top-four finish and a real title challenge.
Declan Rice is among the top summer targets for Chelsea, but he will come at a huge cost
And there’s new owners in town too
While all of the above on-field issues are being sorted, it will be all change behind the scenes at Stamford Bridge too.
First, a reminder of what’s going on. Back in March, Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich announced his intention to sell Chelsea in the wake of his country’s invasion of Ukraine.
Soon after, the UK government issued sanctions and seized his assets, putting Chelsea in a whole heap of difficulties. Since then, they have not been able to sell tickets, and only season-ticket holders can now attend matches at Stamford Bridge.
The sanctions have also been far-from-helpful in terms of contract negotiations, and Tuchel claimed on Sunday that they were the reason for Rudiger’s impending exit in the summer.
It is hoped, though, that new owners will be through the door in the coming weeks, leaving Chelsea free to operate as normal again heading into the summer transfer window.
Roman Abramovich (centre, top) is selling Chelsea after being sanctioned by the government
The process has been a long and arduous one so far, but three sets of bidders are still in the running with a final decision expected soon.
It has been reported that all three consortiums have indicated they would pay well over £2billion, with a further minimum investment of £1bn committed to the stadium, academy and women’s team.
Sir Lewis Hamilton and Serena Williams are both committing millions of pounds to the consortium headed by Sir Martin Broughton, while the group headed by Boston Celtics chief Steve Pagliuca and Larry Tanenbaum have publicly committed to a ‘lifetime ownership’ of the club.
It has been a whirlwind few months for Chelsea, but top of the agenda this summer will be to get to grips with the new owners and ensure as smooth a transition as possible from Abramovich to whoever takes charge next.
Sir Martin Broughton is heading up one of the three consortiums still in the running for Chelsea
What next for Granovskaia?
Another off-field issue to sort is the future of director Marina Granovskaia, Chelsea’s so called ‘transfer chief’ – who has been exceptionally good for the club and one of the most important figures off the pitch under Abramovich’s ownership.
The Russian-Canadian businesswoman has taken charge of transfer dealings at Stamford Bridge since as early as 2010, joining the board in 2013.
It is understood that all three potential ownership groups will fight to keep her at the helm, but given her connections to Abramovich it is as yet unclear whether she will opt to leave for pastures new.
If the aforementioned ‘smooth transition’ is to happen, she will be a vital cog and the new owners must make her an offer she can’t refuse.
With her at the helm, the likes of Rice, Kounde and their other targets are far more likely to sign on the dotted line.
Transfer chief Marina Granovskaia (centre left) could be vital for Chelsea’s new ownership
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