Overhauling the Blues
Chelsea’s plan to overhaul their squad has gained momentum, with five deals nearing completion. Mateo Kovacic and Kai Havertz are set to join Premier League rivals as part of the clearout. The objective for Chelsea this summer is to raise funds, reduce their wage bill, and trim the squad size. They are on the verge of securing agreements totaling approximately £130m before June 30, which will be factored into the current year’s financial accounts. Previously, Chelsea spent around £600m on transfer fees during this period.
If Chelsea reaches an agreement with Manchester United for Mason Mount, the total expenditure could increase further. However, Chelsea turned down a £45m plus £5m in add-ons offer from Manchester United for the midfielder. Chelsea’s valuation for Mount stands at £65m. On a positive note, Chelsea did finalize a £65m deal with Arsenal for Kai Havertz, paving the way for his move to north London after personal terms were agreed upon.
Mateo Kovacic, on the other hand, has made similar progress with Manchester City and is expected to join Pep Guardiola’s side. A deal worth £30m, including an initial fee of £25m, has been agreed upon by both clubs. Additionally, Chelsea has been in discussions regarding several players joining the Saudi Pro League. Three deals are nearing completion, with these transfers following N’Golo Kante’s free transfer to Al-Ittihad in the Middle East.
Winger Hakim Ziyech, who joined Chelsea for just over £33m in 2020, has agreed to move to Al-Nassr, Cristiano Ronaldo’s club, for approximately £8m. Defender Kalidou Koulibaly, who arrived at Stamford Bridge from Napoli for £33m, is set to join Al-Hilal for a fee exceeding £15m. Edouard Mendy, a £22m signing from Rennes in 2020, is expected to join Al-Ahli, with a valuation of at least £10m.
Ziyech, Koulibaly, and Mendy were part of the package of players Chelsea was discussing with Saudi Pro League clubs. This package also included Romelu Lukaku, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, and Callum Hudson-Odoi. Lukaku was priced at approximately £60m but is not interested in a move to Saudi Arabia, where he is also pursued by Al-Hilal.
Negotiations are ongoing regarding Aubameyang, while discussions regarding Hudson-Odoi’s future are set to take place in the coming days. Chelsea acknowledges that they will incur financial losses on all players departing the club. However, their primary focus is on clearing the decks, and the initial group of departures will assist them in achieving that goal.
The Red Devils re-bids for Mount
According to reports, Manchester United have raised their offer for Mason Mount, their primary midfield target, but an agreement has not been reached with Chelsea.
Erik ten Hag is keen on securing the services of the England international to strengthen his midfield this summer, but the two clubs have yet to agree on the player’s value.
The Athletic states that United has put forward a new proposal of £45 million plus £5 million in add-ons. This offer is said to have prompted a counteroffer from Chelsea, who now seek £60 million with an additional £5 million in add-ons.
Earlier this month, United’s initial offer of £40 million for the 24-year-old, whose Chelsea contract runs until the summer of 2024, was swiftly rejected.
For Mount, this summer feels like the conclusion of an era at Chelsea. He joined the club’s academy in 2015 and worked his way up through the ranks to become a key figure in the first team. In his 195 appearances across all competitions, he has contributed 33 goals and 37 assists.
During his time at Chelsea, Mount helped the team win the 2021 Champions League, scoring crucial goals against Porto and Real Madrid in the quarter-finals and providing the assist for Kai Havertz’s winning goal against Manchester City in the final.
However, this season has been plagued by injuries for Mount. He initially suffered an ankle injury in February and later underwent surgery in April for an abdominal issue.
In February, it was reported by Mail Sport that Chelsea attempted to offer Mount a new contract, but negotiations between the parties broke down.
Meanwhile, Harry Kane is still hopeful that Manchester United will revive their interest in signing him this summer if Tottenham’s chairman, Daniel Levy, lowers his £100 million asking price.
Kane, the England captain, recently played at Old Trafford and scored two goals in a convincing 7-0 victory over North Macedonia in Euro 2024 qualifying. However, the chances of him making a permanent move to Manchester United depend on Levy, known for his tough negotiating tactics, softening his stance.
United has made it clear that they will not pursue a deal for £100 million as Kane will turn 30 next month and has only one year remaining on his Spurs contract. The club has currently ended its pursuit of Kane and shifted its focus to more attainable targets, such as Atalanta’s Rasmus Hojlund.
If the price is closer to £80 million, United might be tempted to resume negotiations, as manager Erik ten Hag prefers signing a striker with a proven track record in the Premier League.
Chelsea’s tribute to Kante
After N’Golo Kante completed his move to Al-Ittihad, Chelsea paid a heartfelt tribute to the midfielder.
On Tuesday evening, Kante’s transfer to Saudi Arabia was confirmed, marking the end of his seven-year tenure at Stamford Bridge.
Throughout his time at the club, Kante achieved success by winning the Premier League, Champions League, Europa League, and FA Cup. In their farewell statement, Chelsea honored him as a ‘club legend.’ Co-directors Laurence Stewart and Paul Winstanley also expressed their thoughts on behalf of the club, acknowledging Kante’s significant impact and influence during his tenure. They highlighted his tireless performances in midfield, which contributed to multiple trophy victories and solidified his place in the club’s history. The club extended their well wishes as Kante embarks on the next phase of his career.
Kante joined Chelsea in 2016 following his instrumental role in Leicester City’s remarkable title triumph the previous season. In his debut year with Chelsea, Kante once again won the league under the management of Antonio Conte. He continued to add to his trophy collection by securing the FA Cup and Europa League in the subsequent seasons, all while winning the World Cup with the French national team.
Among Chelsea fans, Kante will be most fondly remembered for his performances during the team’s journey to Champions League glory in 2021. He stood out as the team’s standout player in the quarter-finals against Atletico Madrid, the semi-final victory over Real Madrid, and the final against Manchester City. His display in the final, where Chelsea secured a surprising 1-0 victory, is widely regarded as one of the finest performances in recent memory, with Kante thwarting City’s attempts to breach their defense.
Unfortunately, Kante’s final season at Chelsea was marred by injuries, restricting him to just seven Premier League appearances. As his contract was set to expire at the end of the season, Kante initially appeared likely to extend his deal with Chelsea. However, he ultimately chose to make the switch from West London to the Middle East.
In the coming weeks, Kante will join his Al-Ittihad teammates as they aim to defend the title they won last season under the guidance of former Wolves and Tottenham manager Nuno Espirito Santo. They secured the top spot, finishing five points ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo’s Al-Nassr.