With no midweek game for the first time in a long time, the Chelsea news cycle has been running rather lean the last couple days, filled with stories that maintain the status quo and bringing news that aren’t new. Crystal Palace still want too much for Zaha, Chelsea still want too much Alonso, no one seems to want Giroud, and more shortlists and wishlists have been drawn up than have arrived at Santa’s workshop.
One of the more (relatively) meaningful stories came from the Telegraph yesterday, where Matt Law reported that Chelsea are “no closer” to agreeing contract extensions with Tammy Abraham and Reece James. This is contrasted with the new contract announcement for Fikayo Tomori just last week, which followed similar announcements for Mason Mount, Billy Gilmour, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, and of course, Callum Hudson-Odoi (with his wages playing a prominent role as well).
It’s another story about a non-event of course, though it does prey on fears from the whole Callum Hudson-Odoi saga from this time last year.
But there’s no need to panic yet, despite the headlines.
First off, a progress report of “no closer” is fairly meaningless without an actual starting point. Is it “no closer” than last week? Last month? Last summer? The same Telegraph reported in late August that Chelsea were “set to offer” Abraham a new deal; are we still at that stage? The Guardian said in mid-September that Chelsea “opened talks” with both Abraham and Tomori, though the first reports about Tomori’s contract were in early August — four months before the official announcement. Another Guardian transfer scribe, the Oracle known as Fabrizio Romano already claimed in mid-October that Abraham’s contract is “close”. So we’re “no closer” than close? These things are always over-reported and over-analyzed.
“...progress on both players has not been as fast as had been hoped and Chelsea are not thought to be imminently preparing to announce a new contract for either man.”
The only things that happen fast in football are the ones no one’s paying attention to. Everything else is lived
a quarter mile next-48-hours at a time.
But the most obvious reason not to panic is that unlike Hudson-Odoi, who was subject to a very public pursuit from Bayern Munich and, even more importantly, was approaching the end of his contract, both Abraham and James have 2.5 years left at this point. Abraham signed a 5-year deal back in 2017 just before heading out on loan to Swansea City, while James signed a 3-year deal just last summer before his loan move to Wigan.
Clearly, they’re both due new and improved terms, but there’s plenty of time.