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Abramovich ‘instructs’ Chelsea to move on Stones, Seri — report

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Liverpool v Manchester City - Premier League Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

We’re less than a month away from the end of the 2017-18 season and the official start of the 2018 Summer Silly Season, yet if we were to try to name Chelsea’s top transfer targets, we would practically draw a blank. Normally, we’re swimming in early transfer rumors by late April; now it’s barely an ankle-deep puddle of uncertainty. Even contract rumors regarding Courtois and Hazard have gone dormant.

What we have no shortage of are managerial rumors of course, and it would certainly behoove us to figure out that situation first (Conte IN or Conte OUT?), not to mention the backroom hierarchy (director of football or no director of football?). Even in these days of constant managerial churn at the vast majority of clubs, some players do still apparently base their decisions of playing for certain managers — or at least take it into strong consideration. The likes of Kanté, Rüdiger, Bakayoko, Morata might have still ended up at Chelsea, but Conte’s presence here made it an easier choice for them to sign with the Blues.

It’s with that in mind that the Mail “understand” that Abramovich has “instructed” his executive staff to “move forward with securing their targets despite the fact they don’t know who will be head coach next term” — even though this is hardly a new situation for the club. One does wonder what the people responsible for this were doing until now though, if not moving forward with potential targets and the like. Presumably that’s a department that never truly sleeps, even less so than the rumor mill itself.

In any case, who might these targets be? Since we’re drawing a blank, the Mail helpfully namedrop Jean-Michael Seri (yay!) and John Stones (uh...again?).

Seri has been linked a couple times recently, but he also claims to have an actual medical condition (or a predisposition for a medical condition) that makes it very uncomfortable for him to play in cold weather. No, it’s really actual thing. Really. Onychocryptosis. (It sounds less impressive when you say ingrown nails instead. It’s treatable and manageable, but it can be a literal pain.)

Meanwhile, John Stones seems like a rather random name to rehash from past transfer windows. Is he back to being not good after briefly reaping the benefits of playing in Guardiola’s zero-actual-defense defensive scheme? He did miss about half the season with a couple different injuries (including an abductor right now), but did start most of the games he was available for. City’s long-serving stalwarts Kompany and Otamendi may both be on the wrong side of 30, but their 23-year-old duo of Stones and Laporte should have them well set for the foreseeable future at the position.

While themselves could certainly use some fresh blood in both defense and midfield, the Stones thing is surely nonsense (it may or may not have first popped up in The Sun, as reported by our friends at Bitter & Blue). But Seri would be nice, if we can get him some warm socks maybe?