All spring we heard about the clearout of long time Chelsea players that was coming this summer, but until the recent rumblings about Yuri Zhirkov we haven't heard too many viable rumors linking Chelsea players to the exits. Eventually we will need to replace a large portion of the squad, so I thought today would be an excellent time to take a look at which Chelsea players are entering the final years of their contracts with the club. It might also give us a look at areas that we may need to address very soon, as the list of expirings is surprisingly long. So here are your walk year players:
- Didier Drogba - Drogs has been one of the best forwards on the planet for many years. At age 33, Drogs is likely to be at the point of his career where he can no longer anchor the line every single match. That said, he's still a very effective player and seems to be on the verge of extending his contract for one more season. I'd be very happy with that development, as the drogbazooka has been my favorite Chelsea player of the Abramovich era. Seeing him in another shirt now would just make me feel dirty.
If the club makes no moves to extend any of these 7 players, we'll have quite a few holes to fill next summer. We'd also potentially have 6 open roster slots for players who aren't "homegrown", so many moves would be a lot less complicated. I'd expect to see that number drop to 4 between the likely Drogba extension and seemingly inevitable addition of a midfielder combined with a Zhirkov sale, but that is still likely going to lead to an active summer of 2012. For anyone wondering why we've been so quiet this summer, this look at these expiring wage bills may help to explain it.