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CHELSEA

Chelsea transfer updates: Kanté, Kovacic and Havertz to start Stamford Bridge exodus

The Premier League side are under pressure to balance the books and the likes of Mason Mount, Hakim Ziyech and Edouard Mendy could also be leaving the club.

Update:
Kanté , Kovacic and Havertz to start Stamford Bridge exodus
Julian FinneyGetty Images

Chelsea are set to embark on a major selling spree this summer in a bid to offset huge financial losses made in recent campaigns.

The Premier League side have recorded significant losses in three of the past four seasons and are almost certain to do the same when the 2022/23 financial details are released. Chelsea could soon struggle to comply with the Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations and issues have only increased under the ownership of Todd Boehly’s Clearwater Capital in the past year.

Last September Chelsea were one of 19 European clubs added to UEFA watchlist in relation to their transfer dealings. Since then they have spent hundreds of millions of dollars in the January transfer window and failed to qualify for any European competition for 2023/24, slashing their revenue going forward.

However the financial season does not finish until 30 June, meaning that they have a little over a week to bring in fresh cash and mitigate their losses for the season. Chelsea’s summer exodus has already begun...

Saudi Pro League sign Kanté and bid for others

Chelsea’s first significant outgoing transfer of the summer is one that will not see them receive a penny in transfer fees. N’Golo Kanté leaves the club after the expiration of his contract, which is thought to have made him one of the highest-earning players at Stamford Bridge.

Kanté joins Al-Ittihad of the Saudi Pro League, and could soon be joined in the moneyed competition by a number of his former Chelsea teammates.

N'Golo Kanté, jugador del Chelsea, conduce el balón ante el Aston Villa.
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N'Golo Kanté joins former Real Madrid captain Karim Benzema at Al-Ittihad.JUSTIN TALLISAFP

Moroccan winger Hakim Ziyech, who had hoped to move to Paris Saint-Germain in January, is thought to be close to a deal to sign for Al-Nassr. Kalidou Koulibaly is in talks with Al-Hilal, while out-of-favour goalkeeper Edouard Mendy could sign for Al-Ahli.

There is a clear logic to all of these deals; Chelsea are eager to rid themselves of high-earners with limited interest from other clubs, while the Saudi Pro League is making a concerted effort to bring big names to the league. However financial ties between Clearlake Capital and Saudi’s Public Investment Fund have raised questions about potential conflicts of interest.

Premier League interest in Kovacic, Havertz, Mount

Such has been the turnover of managers - Mauricio Pochettino becomes the third permanent head coach in less than 12 months - that Chelsea have been left with a disjointed squad.

The Argentinian manager will waste little time in cutting down his squad and a number of players look set to leave for Premier League rivals.

On Wednesday it was reported that Manchester City have agreed a deal to sign Mateo Kovacic for a fee rising to £25 million ($32m). Likewise a deal that would see Kai Havertz, once Chelsea’s record signing, move to London neighbours Arsenal for around £65 million ($83m) is close to completion.

Mateo Kovacic, jugador del Chelsea, durante un partido.
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Mateo Kovacic is close to a move to Manchester City.DARREN STAPLESAFP

Chelsea are also willing to move on homegrown players like Mason Mount and Connor Gallagher. Their status as academy graduates is particularly good for the club in FFP terms; any fee that the club receives for them can be recorded as pure profit on the books.

Manchester United are thought to be leading the race to sign Mount but their latest offer worth up to £50 million ($64m) has been rebuffed by Chelsea. The Athletic reports that Chelsea want a package totalling £65 million ($83m) for the 24-year-old midfielder.