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Irish Independent
Irish Independent
Matt Law

Chelsea plan mass clearout to end ‘player power’ and balance wages

Chelsea are determined to make the Graham Potter appointment work

Chelsea’s underperforming stars are facing a fight for their futures with the club’s owners planning to overhaul the squad and end the era of player power at Stamford Bridge.

While previous owner Roman Abramovich repeatedly backed Chelsea’s players over his managers, the Todd Boehly-Clearlake Capital ownership are desperate for head coach Graham Potter to turn around the alarming slump and succeed.

The possibility of sacking head coach Potter has not even been discussed internally ahead of tomorrow’s game against Crystal Palace, but it is understood Chelsea will consider a squad clearout if results and performances do not improve dramatically.

Such a move would be backed by the supporters, who waited for Potter outside Craven Cottage after the latest defeat by Fulham on Thursday and shouted: “Don’t give up, keep the faith. Change the squad, they’re the problem.”

Any overhaul could include signing Joao Felix permanently at the end of the season if the forward builds on his encouraging display before being sent off against Fulham, while there is also interest this month in Borussia Monchengladbach striker Marcus Thuram and PSV Eindhoven winger Noni Madueke.

Just as important as new signings will be player sales, but Chelsea’s biggest issue will be finding buyers for the highly paid stars they are willing to sell and loan out.

Expensive signings such as Hakim Ziyech, Christian Pulisic and Kai Havertz are facing uncertain futures, while, Jorginho may be allowed to leave when his contract expires and interest in captain Cesar Azpilicueta could be considered.

There is also the possibility of Chelsea cutting their losses on defender Kalidou Koulibaly if an offer arrives from Italy, while the club are unlikely to stand in Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s way if he wants to return to Spain or move elsewhere.

The Boehly-Clearlake owners have been trying to rebalance Chelsea’s wage bill since taking over the club and that will continue as more players arrive and others depart.

Ideally, Chelsea want a first-team dressing room of players who are all on similar basic wages with the possibility of earning lucrative bonuses for meeting personal and team goals.

The club have not ruled out a second bid for Benfica’s Enzo Fernandez, while Brighton’s Moises Caicedo remains on their radar. 

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