Major talk among the media and fans recently has been regarding Chelsea’s financial situation in relation to the Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations that are due to be enforced by the 2013/2014 footballing calendar. Even if the club finish fourth in the league this year, they are far from guaranteed to meet the criteria set out by UEFA. Sanctions for the breach of the rules on FFP can include exclusion from European competitions. With that in mind, we take a look at the players who might just have to make way in order to ease the wage bill and allow for new signings to come in.
1. Fernando Torres – The Spanish striker has found it difficult to replicate his form at Liverpool. Arriving in January 2011 for a British transfer fee record of £50million, some trying to remember ‘why’ at this moment in time, ‘El Nino’ is definitely a member of the expendables. His lack of goals and inconsistent form, coupled with a reported £200,000 p/w contract would be a massive burden to unload. His market value may have plummeted but there will still be clubs who have faith in one of the most feared strikers on the planet only two years ago. Possible destinations: AC Milan – The Italian giants have been linked with strikers in every transfer window it seems. Even with their abundance of talent in the position, I’m sure the board and manager at the club will have to consider a move for Torres. Atletico Madrid – Perhaps the most likely destination. No club in the world would be happier to see Fernando Torres playing for them, than the team he started his career with. It would definitely be a case of ‘The Prodigal Son’ returning, loved by the fans and club captain before he left, there will always be one team in Madrid that would welcome Torres with open arms.
2. Didier Drogba – The Ivorian wouldn’t fetch a transfer fee due to his contract expiring in the summer, but he does collect a hefty salary – reported in the region of £5.5 million annually, his departure seems all the more likely now that there is only a caretaker manager in charge. Possible destinations: Shanghai Shenhua/ Guangzhou Evergrande – Well his agent has already claimed he will go wherever the money takes him and that may leave two teams in pole position. The mega rich Chinese clubs were allegedly after Didier during the January transfer window and interest is likely to still be sky high.
3. Frank Lampard – The heart of the Chelsea midfield for the past decade. Many know, Frank Lampard is nearing the twilight of his career, he has always been linked with the rest of the world’s best clubs and his achievements are still likely to fetch a reasonable price and again would represent a large cut in the wage bill. As a fan favourite he would likely be reluctant to go, just as fans would be reluctant to let him go, he is a legend at the club but injury problems have crept into his game and performances are on a downward slope. It may be in the interest of the club to offload the star midfielder. Possible destinations: Anzhi – The latest billionaire owned Russian team were thought to be interested in signing Frank Lampard in the last two transfer windows. They would certainly pay more than most in terms of transfer fee (as seen with the Zhirkov deal) and likely offer the player a salary he would be foolish to refuse.
4. Ashley Cole – The last member of the ‘Old Guard’ that I will feature, the left back has arguably been one of the most consistent performers since joining Chelsea both for club and country. Regarded by many as the best left back in the world, interest has always been high in Ashley Cole. His ability to play a part in both the attacking and defensive phase of the game will always be a selling point, not to mention his knack of making crucial goal line clearances time and time… and time again. However he too is nearing the end of an illustrious career and has carried injuries throughout recent campaigns, the progress of Ryan Bertrand is also another factor in why Ashley Cole joins the expendable club Possible destinations: Barcelona/Real Madrid – Both the Spanish giants have kept tabs on Cole it would appear over the years and recent speculation has suggested that those at the Nou Camp are lining up a £10million bid.
5. Salomon Kalou/Florent Malouda – Or Kalouda as they are sometimes affectionately known as. Both have struggled to make an impact on the first team this year, generally when they have played they haven’t exactly given the fans many reasons to think otherwise. I may be harsh in just focusing on these two, considering there are arguably other players who have under performed but each player has his own reason for making the list. Kalou’s contract is up at the end of this season, his departure like his fellow Ivorian, Drogba, will signal a cut in the wage bill (Obviously a smaller cut than the Drogba’s). Malouda on the other hand still is contracted but has been nothing short of horrendous at times to be polite and is being paid fairly handsomely at the same time to do so. If Roman is reading, I could do exactly the same for half the rate. Possible destinations: Arsenal – The North London rivals have had their eyes on the pair in recent times and a free transfer for Kalou is just the type of low spending deal Arsene loves. Lyon – The struggling French side, I’m sure would be glad to have a reminder of their golden generation and in Florent Malouda they would have just that, at a very affordable rate it would be assumed.
6. David Luiz – The surprise inclusion on the expendable list. The Brazilian is on this list for a completely different reason to the rest. He is not nearing the end of his career, nor does his contract run out any time soon, neither has he under performed for the club. Yet, it is for these reasons why he is on the list. David Luiz would fetch arguably the highest transfer fee of all Chelsea players. Already linked with a move to Barcelona, who see him as the perfect defender for their system, who could blame them? He’s quick, young and incredibly talented on the ball, with a desire to attack just as much as he likes to defend (A true Brazilian centre back). It would be with great sorrow to see his departure, the player has established himself already as somewhat of a cult hero with the prospect of becoming one of the best defenders in the world and an all time great at the club, but his sale would be the most logical financially. Possible destinations: Barcelona – As mentioned early the Catalans see Luiz as a natural successor to Puyol (Mind you, he does have some similar features…). However any club that has watched the player would have to take interest and think about acquiring his services should Chelsea make him available.