Both the Guardian (Fifield) and the Telegraph (Law) ran a summary piece last night regarding the Eden Hazard situation and how it dovetails with Chelsea’s transfer ban situation, and it would appear that the story Chelsea want out there is as follows:
- Agents of current players with expiring contracts, loanees, and potential transfer targets have been told that all plans are “on hold” pending the decision of the FIFA Appeals Committee, who have not suspended the transfer ban during the appeal itself, but could yet rule before the summer and allow Chelsea to appeal via CAS and get the suspension lifted as well. Obviously, this is not an ideal way to do business by any means, but the club cannot make any promises without knowing when and how FIFA will rule — at least one potential transfer has already been affected, claims the Telegraph.
- Broad plans are being drawn up for either decision (the imaginatively named Plan A and Plan B), which means we’re still hopeful that FIFA will throw us a bone. That seems optimistic but whatever.
- Both Plans A and B involve selling Hazard, whose contract expires after next season alongside any leverage we may have had up to this point. Fifield actually uses stronger language here (Chelsea’s hand “will be forced”) than Law (“growing acceptance” that a sale is “likely”). Neither anticipate the €15m difference in asking price versus initial approach to be too great of an obstacle.
- David Luiz, Willian, Pedro, Giroud are mentioned as possibly retained and offered new contracts
- Zouma, Batshuayi, Bakayoko get a shout out, as do youngsters Reece James, Mason Mount, Tammy Abraham, and Jake Clarke-Salter, as players whose futures could directly depend on the (timing of the) FIFA ruling.
A lot of this is obviously common sense, but hopefully the bigger effort is being spent on whichever plan is supposed to be enacted under a transfer ban. Hope for the best, plan for the worst, as Cicero once maybe said.