At some point, Chelsea are going to have to let go of a few players if we are to actually complete our squad revitalization, and also balance our books a bit better — unless of course we have some more tricks up our sleeves, like multi-clubs or self-sponsorship; UEFA don’t seem to care about those!
But chances are we will have to say goodbye to a few, and maybe at discounted rates since other teams are well aware of our potential predicament. (That’s the downside of long-term contracts; it’s all well and good to amortize over a long time, but if the players themselves don’t quite work out as expected, we’re stuck!)
Anyway, perhaps first among those rumored to be leaving has been Hakim Ziyech, and has been for a while, but with just a few days to go in the transfer window, he’s still very much a Blue. And he’s even started making more of an impact lately!
It seems we’re still open to his departure however, with Gianluca Di Marzio pegging our “economic request” at €20m. That’s certainly not a lot, but it is twice the number bandied about last summer and is the same number from a few months ago when AC Milan were supposedly interested. Now it’s AS Roma’s turn.
Their interest supposedly depends on Nicolò Zaniolo moving to AFC Bournemouth, with Roma then using that fee to fund the Ziyech move. Di Marzio claims that it can only be a transfer as Chelsea cannot entertain any more non-domestic senior (21+) loans, in or out, due to FIFA’s new regulations — but I’m not sure how they arrived at that number. Our current international senior loans involve Romelu Lukaku, Tiémoué Bakayoko, Malang Sarr, Ethan Ampadu, and João Félix. The limit is eight, that’s five (and Bakayoko should soon be off of it). Every other loan we have is within association (i.e. domestic) and thus not regulated by FIFA (and the English FA have not yet implemented these rules). Callum Hudson-Odoi meanwhile has a homegrown exception for his loan at Bayer Leverkusen.
In Ziyech’s case, as in the case of many of our older players, a loan might have to be the ultimate solution, as the sticking point for these types of transfers is never the fee, but rather the wages.