With Chelsea rather unceremoniously dumped out of the Champions League the slick Atletico Madrid this week, Jose Mourinho is not only facing his first ever full Chelsea campaign without silverware, but also a summer of discontent that could see a host of top names depart Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea are not a selling club, that much is obvious, but the situation at present hints at a change, with at least five of their very best players strongly linked with moves away from West London.
Let Soccerlens guide you through the situation, and either confirm your fears, or allay them, with a fascinating summer certainly approaching for the Blue of London:
5. Fernando Torres – Linked with Atletico Madrid and Inter Milan
Not a particularly nightmarish start, I grant you, but to finally be done with your £50m striker is no picnic.
Fernando Torres has seen his career spiral out of control since his move from Liverpool in January 2011 (yes, it’s been that long), but reprieve could very well be on the way, with both Inter Milan and recent conquerors Atletico Madrid said to be potential destinations for the 30-year-old.
Atletico seems the most likely destination for my money, and Chelsea may well be getting Diego Costa as part of the deal. If the latest Spanish reports are to be believed, the move is already on, with the Brazilian to arrive at Stamford Bridge in the summer for a cool £40m.
Torres leaving?! Don’t worry, Chelsea fans. While I’m not sure Diego Costa is the best striker out there, Mourinho’s strike-force is in dire need of a re-tune.
The Chelsea boss has complained about his forward line all season, and even stated his intention to buy a striker this summer.
Sure to happen.
4. David Luiz – Linked with Barcelona, PSG, and Monaco
An embodiment of the Chelsea heart over the past few seasons, David Luiz is, as his manager put it recently, quite the monster.
Unstoppable one minute, accident prone the next; he has been a neutral fans’ favourite for years. But if the Brazilian can cut out the occasional mistakes, I firmly believe that he could be one of the very best players in the world.
He has endured a difficult season under Mourinho, playing only occasionally (but often in the big games, oddly enough), and not consolidating a place in the Chelsea XI. Barcelona have been forever linked with a move for the player, with the Daily Mirror reporting on Wednesday that he will lead the summer exodus at the club.
If Barcelona’s interest in concrete, and no transfer ban inhibits the Spanish giants, then I can’t see how the 26-year-old will remain in West London.
David Luiz would be a superb partner for Gerard Pique at the back, and with a strong Brazilian contingent already residing in the Nou Camp, Luiz would feel right at home.
Mark my words, Chelsea will rue the day…
3. Petr Cech – To be deposed?
Big Pete’s been between the sticks since 2004, and has played over 300 games for the Blues, but there is growing speculation that the Czech international will be replaced with Belgian number one Thiabaut Courtois next season.
The 21-year-old, who helped knock his employers out of the Champions League last week, has blossomed into one of the best goalkeepers in the world on loan at Atletico Madrid, but will not stay in limbo for much longer.
I say warning because I see no reason to replace the best goalkeeper in the Premier League, regardless of how good Courtois has become, but it look like it will happen.
Cech may find that that the solution to the this problem sees him sat on the bench next season, with a number of fans and pundits now saying the time has come for Courtois to show his talent in the Premier League.
I, for one, think Cech deserves better.
2. Oscar – Linked with PSG
The young Brazilian was partly the reason for Juan Mata’s January exit to Manchester United, with Mourinho deeming Oscar to be his first choice number 10 for the season.
But a host of lackluster displays in the second half of the season has seen the Chelsea boss think twice about the 22-year-old, climaxing with his no-show in the crunch Champions League semi-final loss midweek.
With Chelsea desperately in need of attacking invention against a vibrant Atletico, Mourinho overlooked Oscar for all three of his substitutions, and considering his poor form of late, perhaps Mourinho wasn’t wrong to do so?
While it seems unlikely that the baby-faced Brazilian will be heading for the exit, his is certainly not the first name on the teamsheet, and with rumours of PSG ready to offer big money for the attacker, it would not be a total shock to see Oscar in Ligue 1 next season.
1. Eden Hazard – Linked with PSG
He’s not a happy bunny, is he! Eden Hazard poured battery acid on the transfer pyre yesterday with his derogatory comments concerning Chelsea’s tactics in the 3-1 defeat to Atletico Madrid.
Jose Mourinho retorted with just enough venom to make us think twice about the immediate future of the reigning PFA Young Player of the Year.
PSG are very, very interested in the Belgian youngster, with the French press going so far as to say Hazard is ready to move to Ligue 1…
Hazard is Chelsea’s best attacking outlet, their main attraction abroad, and the one player they will be loathe to be rid of.
While he is frustrated at the manner of their defeat to Atleti, I believe it will die down, especially if the Blues bring in some top-notch stars in the summer.
Mourinho’s war-of-words with his star man will also surely fade away, as the Portuguese and the club will fight tooth-and-nail to keep the Belgian, considering his outstanding potential.
Ligue 1 is a step down from the Premier League, and despite the endless speculation sent over from the press across the channel, I’m sure Hazard knows it too.
What do you think? Which player would you least like to see leave? get involved in the comments below…