Chelsea January Transfer Window – Who could leave?

With the winter window being newly opened, its likely we see some activity from Chelsea Football Club to progress their plans for the squad. However, it seems the focus for the window may be offloading players from the large squad Chelsea now have rather than adding further depth and talent.

Ahead of the Manchester City game, Frank Lampard was asked about the club’s plans for the window ahead and he had this to say:

“I have ideas. We have a big squad, we’ll have to see if that changes, if there are opportunities for players who aren’t playing so much. That will be a conversation between the player, club and myself.”

He continued by adding;

“Then we’ll see if we can strengthen in the right way, but we’re not jumping up and down to do so. My focus this year is purely on work because we have new players, because we have young players, so I’m focusing on that. But we’ll see, it’s a long month.”

Chelsea’s plans for the January window
Photo Credit: Getty Images

As Lampard mentioned in his answer during the press conference, it seems the focus is going to be finding moves for players who are lacking game time, whether that be a loan move or a permanent one. Therefore, we’ll go through and discuss the different players we might see find a permanent move elsewhere, and who might be looking for a loan move based on reports, while discussing each player’s circumstances in the process.

Permanent Moves

Antonio Rüdiger

20180602 FIFA Friendly Match Austria vs. Germany Antonio Rüdiger 850 0711.jpg
Photo Source: Wikipedia

Rudiger is a player who could likely be on his way out this window with hopes of securing a spot to be selected for the Euros this upcoming summer. After being signed by Antonio Conte the summer after Chelsea’s most recent title winning campaign, Rudiger has struggled ever since to remain in the starting lineup under Lampard. Being a prominent player for his international side of Germany, it seems the only alternative is to move elsewhere. Reports came out back in October sparked by Joachim Low himself stating that Rudiger:

“Tried everything to leave Chelsea because the European Championship is very important to him. I think he’ll try to leave again in the winter. He’s doing everything he can to stay in his best form.”

Joachim Low on Rudiger’s situation at Chelsea

With window newly opened, we’ll see which clubs offer for Rudiger in his search for regular game time.

Jorginho

Chelsea Unveil New Signing Jorginho...
Photo Credit: Getty Images

Jorginho was originally signed when Chelsea brought in Maurizio Sarri to takeover from Antonio Conte. It was understood that he was an integral part of the Sarri-ball system and was utilized as deepest midfielder in a 4-3-3 in the famous Regista role. However, it’s likely we see him move on from Chelsea since the sacking of Sarri and his lack of game time under Frank Lampard.

His agent, Joao Santos came out back in November stating that Jorginho could follow Maurizio Sarri wherever his new project may be. This, combined with his original transfer fee of £50M could mean we see him moving on from the club to make space in the already crowded midfield Chelsea have, and recoup some funds for future moves.

Marcos Alonso

Marcos Alonso Profile, News & Stats | Premier League
Photo Source: Premier League

After his poor performances so far in the league this season Alonso has not seen any game time since the 3-3 draw against West Brom. With Ben Chilwell fully fit and the clear first choice, as well as Emerson now seemingly second in the pecking order, Alonso looks to be another player whose time is up at the club.

Originally coming in again under Antonio Conte before our title winning campaign, Alonso proved to be a pivotal player operating in the left wing-back role in the 3-4-3. However, since transitioning to a 4 ATB system, he’s struggled ever since in being able to get up and down the field effectively as well as be defensively reliable.

Reports from The Independent and Sports Illustrated have both discussed a move for the Spanish international back to his home country. Atletico Madrid currently seem the most interested side for Alonso’s services, so it’s possible we see him on his way out this window.

Emerson Palmieri

Emerson Palmieri - Wikipedia
Photo Source: Wikipedia

The alternate left back has also been linked recently with a move away from Stamford Bridge. Signed originally by Conte as well for depth, Emerson was once again is a player who never really broke into the first team.

Reports from Sports Illustrated have stated that two teams have potential interest for the left back, both coming from Italy. First of the two being a reunion with Antonio Conte at Inter Milan who are looking to challenge for the Scudetto this year. The second team being Napoli who are also seemingly interested in the player.

However, as a result of the interest in Marcos Alonso and Emerson’s status as second choice under Lampard, it’s possible Chelsea hold onto him for longer than this window where they can find a proper replacement.

Danny Drinkwater

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Danny Drinkwater is another player on this list who never truly got involved in the first team and has recently featured with the U23s. During his spell at Chelsea he’s had a few discplinary issues, including being involved in an altercation during a game with the U23 squad. Drinkwater’s time at Chelsea has been tumultuous to say the least. He was originally signed for a fee of £35M pounds for depth and was rarely deployed, which left many fans scratching their heads.

Reports last year stated the hammers were potentially interested in the player, however it’s uncertain whether this is still the case. Regardless, it’s likely he is on his way out wherever that may be as most fans would probably be pleased to see the back of him.

Others Notable Players

Additional players worth mentioning who could also see their way out include the following:

  • Michy Batshuayi who is currently on loan at Crystal Palace but has been scarce of playing time even there. Although it’s uncertain when he may move on, it seems his time at Chelsea is likely over as well.
  • Davide Zappacosta currently on loan at Genoa C.F.C. Signed originally under Conte for additional depth at right wing-back, failed to truly get involved in the first team and likely to move elsewhere permanently
  • Tiemoue Bakayoko, brought in to fill the void left by Nemanja Matić in 2018 Bakayoko was quickly dismissed by all managers who succeed Antonio Conte who he was signed under. After a couple loan moves at A.C. Milan and this year at Napoli, it seems Bakayoko has recouped enough market value through regular game time for a permanent move.

Loan Moves

Moving onto loan moves, we’ll be discuss players we could see go on loan who are also looking to get more regular game time. This may result for a variety of reasons, namely for certain players to further develop and fight for a place in the first team the following season, as well as others looking to bring up their market value with options to buy for inevitable permanent deals in the future. That being said, we’ll discuss which players could fit into these categories and use reports to further the context of each player and their given circumstances.

Tino Anjorin

Originally, it seemed Tino was set for first team opportunities as he was moved up and training with the squad regularly. Liam Twomey reported for The Athletic at the beginning of the season that Tino was set to stay at the club for this year.

However, with only 3 appearances this season and limited game time, it’s possible this stance is reevaluated this window in a similar fashion that Twomey’s tweet states: “he gets a loan offer that’s too good to refuse.”

Anjorin is an extremely talented player, and ideally if a club in Europe’s top 5 leagues comes with an offer that entails regular game time for the 19-year-old to further develop, it might be one of consideration for the Frank and the club.

Billy Gilmour

Billy Gilmour: Chelsea midfielder set to miss rest of season with knee  injury | Football News | Sky Sports
Photo Source: Sky Sports

After a knee operation which forced Gilmour out of the first team for the rest of project restart, Gilmour has become fully fit again and appeared a couple times already for the club as a sub for a total of 36 minutes. However, last season many saw the remarkably talented player and have ever since been excited for his return to the squad.

Although the club’s plans were likely similar to that of Tino, if not more willing to utilize Gilmour throughout the season, news has come out in the past month of many clubs interested in taking the Scottish midfielder on loan. Reports from a few sources have cited the Glasgow Rangers as a likely destination, and it’s no secret he’s a player of many talents and in demand.

Lampard spoke to BT Sport in reference to his plans for Gilmour stating:

“I’m not sure. The way he trains and plays I can see him with us. I have to make sure the pathway is right.”

Lampard on Gilmour this season

Therefore, we’ll have to keep an eye out for any further developments in regard to Gilmour for the rest of this season and what “pathway” the manager feels is right for him.

Fikayo Tomori

Fikayo Tomori - Wikipedia
Photo Source: Wikipedia

Fikayo Tomori is another player to keep an eye out on with recent development influencing his status and future. Although last season for a time he had been a regular part of the first team and playing often in the league, this season has been a different story with Tomori only having played 45 minutes in the league. In the summer window leading up to the season, the new signing of Thiago Silva, as well as incumbents of Rudiger, Christensen, and Zouma, questions were being asked of Tomori’s position in the ranks. As a result discussions of whether a loan move to another club might suit him for this season came about.

No move was made, and since then it seems he’s become the 5th choice under Lampard with Rudiger and Christensen receiving more time as rotational players and with Zouma and Silva the starters. As a result, rumors have circulated again linking Tomori to clubs such as Newcastle, Leeds, and Rennes for a loan move this window.

Although some sort of move seemed quite likely, reports are now coming out altering this status. With the injury to Christensen against Aston Villa, Chelsea are seemingly blocking any loan offer for the player. Whether Christensen’s injury is severe enough to see Tomori remain with the club is yet to be seen, regardless it’s another player to watch out for in the case that Christensen comes back sooner than expected and Tomori is allowed to leave.

Kepa arrizabalaga

Kepa Arrizabalaga - Wikipedia
Photo Source: Wikipedia

Kepa is our last player in discussion, with his story and circumstances being quite more complex than the others. Being signed as the most expensive goal keeper for a fee of £71m, and on wages of £150,000 per week, his return for the club has been poor to say the least. With Edouard Mendy the clear starter, it’s clear the club are not looking to keep Kepa as the 2nd choice keeper for such an investment, and it’s unlikely he’s content with this role himself.

Reports have come out that Kepa is looking to return to his home country of Spain and is willing to take massive wage cuts in order to do so. Although his form has recently been so poor, that Chelsea would be unlikely to recoup anywhere near the fee they’ve paid for him, hence why is possible he is sent out on a loan move.

The hope is Kepa can move to a club for a season or even two, with his wages subsidized and more minutes to regain his confidence and market value. Ideally, some sort of option to buy clause would be included in the deal, in which case he can then be shipped off permanently, hence the complexity of the deal.

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