Chelsea confirm Mauricio Pochettino as new boss
Mauricio Pochettino has already approved four Chelsea exits in his first week of the job, with two loanees Joao Felix and Denis Zakaria among them. But there may still be 10 or more players who depart Stamford Bridge ahead of a campaign in which the Blues will only have Premier League and domestic cup football to play.
Pochettino doesn’t officially start work until July 1st but is of course using his time in between then to reconstruct a heavily bloated squad. And the club have informed Felix and Zakaria they will not be returning either on another loan or on a permanent basis.
Chelsea have also given Manchester City permission to speak to Mateo Kovacic. The Croatia midfielder is out of contract in west London in 12 months’ time and so will be allowed to join the champions despite the fact he will strengthen a rival. The Times say it will take at least £30million to do a deal.
And the fourth player Pochettino is ready to overload is attacker Kai Havertz, with Spanish outlet Relevo saying the Argentine coach is ready to sell him to Real Madrid. Carlo Ancelotti is said to be an admirer of 23-year-old German who has ultimately failed to live up to expectations at Chelsea.
But there are a whole host more players who Pochettino may green-light exits for. Among them is goalkeeper Edouard Mendy who helped the Londoners win the Champions League in 2021. In defence, Trevor Chalobah is a major target for Inter Milan according to the Evening Standard. The academy graduate could fetch a fee of £25million.
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A £30m bid from Brighton for Levi Colwill has been rejected. Chelsea however do not want to sell the centre-half at any price. Captain Cesar Azpilicueta has 12 months left on his contract but may leave after over a decade at the club. The Spanish veteran has long been linked with a move to Barcelona.
Kalidou Koulibaly is another central defender who may leave after an unsuccessful debut season following a £34m switch from Napoli. In midfield, N’Golo Kante is out of contract and the 32-year-old midfielder, who has been heavily hampered by injuries in recent years, has been approached about a lucrative move to Saudi Arabia while Arsenal admire his talents.
Chelsea remain keen to tie him down to an extended deal though do have Manuel Ugarte, Moises Caicedo and Declan Rice all as targets. Ruben Loftus-Cheek is almost certain to leave and has agreed personal terms with AC Milan say La Gazetta dello Sport. Chelsea want as much as £21m but may have to accept less for a player entering the final year of his contract.
Mason Mount is another heading into the last 12 months of his contract. And a move to Manchester United, potentially for as much as £70m, looks likely. Pochettino had been keen to work with Mount but does not look likely to get his way with the two-time Player of the Year who has been unable to agree an extension.
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He is said to have already agreed terms with the Red Devils. Homegrown team-mate Conor Gallagher is another attracting Premier League interest including from Newcastle, West Ham and Crystal Palace.
In attack, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s disastrous season will see him leave either to return to Barcelona or to head to MLS or Saudi Arabia. Chelsea will accept a nominal fee to get the striker out of the door after paying £12m for him last summer.
Fellow forwards Christian Pulisic and Hakim Ziyech should also be sold with Italy and France two potential destinations. After a stint on loan at Bayer Leverkusen, Callum Hudson-Odoi should also be moved on to new pastures.
Chelsea hope to raise over £250m with the sales of Mendy, Chalobah, Azpilicueta, Koulibaly, Gallagher, Loftus-Cheek, Kovacic, Mount, Ziyech, Pulisic, Hudson-Odoi and Aubameyang while Kante could leave for nothing. They may however have to accept a fair bit less than that.
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