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Daily Mirror
Daily Mirror
Nathan Ridley

Chelsea trio facing the axe as confidence over permanent Joao Felix transfer emerges

Chelsea are reportedly confident that they can secure new signing Joao Felix on a permanent deal, as the Blues plot to offload a number of players in the summer transfer window.

The Portuguese forward, 23, secured a move from Atletico Madrid until the end of the season on Wednesday and was notably handed his debut by manager Graham Potter less than 36 hours later. Unfortunately for Felix, however, his Premier League bow went down as one of the most infamous debuts in English top-flight history.

Following a promising first hour as he helped Chelsea draw level with hosts Fulham early in the second half, the Portugal international soon received a straight red card for a reckless two-footed tackle on opposition right-back Kenny Tate. Adding insult to injury, the Blues went on to lose 2-1, their third league defeat of the season and a result which puts Potter under more pressure.

While club chiefs are firmly behind the English coach, who was appointed in September after new co-owner Todd Boehly decided to ruthlessly wield the axe and sack the popular Thomas Tuchel, the Telegraph add that Felix's long-term future could also be at Stamford Bridge.

With Chelsea having paid a reported £9.6million to have the 23-year-old for six months - which makes his red card even more bruising because of a three-match suspension - the Stamford Bridge hierarchy are believed to be confident over purchasing Felix on a permanent basis should they wish to do so. That's despite the loan agreement including no option or obligation to buy.

The former Benfica starlet joined Atletico in the summer of 2019 for a club-record £113m and was tipped to be a future Ballon d'Or winner. But after three-and-a-half years struggling to get to grips with manager Diego Simeone's system, Felix is set to seek pastures new in the summer, regardless of how his loan in West London goes.

Have your say! Who else should Chelsea sign in January? Give us your picks in the comments section.

This two-footed tackle ensured that Joao Felix's Chelsea debut will go down in infamy (BEN STANSALL/AFP via Getty Images)

Back at the Bridge, officials are also focussed on player sales to accelerate Potter's anticipated overhaul. Named as those with uncertain futures are forwards Christian Pulisic, Hakim Ziyech and Kai Havertz, who've all featured since the ex-Brighton boss took over but have each struggled to nail down a place since their respective big-money arrivals.

Pulisic was first to rock up during Maurizio Sarri's reign in a deal worth £57.6m, only for the Italian coach to leave before the American winger could officially make the move from Borussia Dortmund. Sarri's successor, Frank Lampard, then signed Moroccan playmaker Ziyech from Ajax for £33.5m and watched him also fail to impress.

Havertz was another of Lampard's additions, coming in from Bayer Leverkusen for a then Chelsea-record fee of £72m, yet the German attacker still doesn't look suited to the English game. Their futures would be thrown into further jeopardy if the Blues were to be successful in their bid for PSV Eindhoven ace Noni Madueke, 20, an English-born wide forward most similar in profile to Pulisic.

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