Mauricio Pochettino may find it more difficult to decide which Chelsea players to keep than who to trade.
The Argentine tactician will not have been impressed by what he saw during a run of seven losses in nine games under Frank Lampard, who is about to be named the new head coach at Stamford Bridge.
Fortunately, Poch won’t have to persuade anyone that a clear-out is necessary. This season, the Blues have utilized 32 players in the Premier League, which has complicated operations at the training facility and led to confusion on the field.
We examine five first-team players who don’t appear to have a bright future with the Blues.
Since FIFA named Mendy the greatest goalkeeper in the world just 16 months ago, there has been a noticeable deterioration in his play.
The following month, the 31-year-old and Senegal both won the African Cup of Nations, and further seasons as Chelsea’s starting quarterback appeared inescapable.
However, the goalkeeper has struggled this year after making a notable error against Leeds, and both Graham Potter and Lampard have mostly preferred Kepa Arrizabalaga.
If the Blues make money, Tottenham have surfaced as a probable destination.
It seems like a mistake to have given Cesar Azpilicueta a two-year contract when he appeared to be leaving last summer.
In his analysis of Sunday’s loss to Manchester City, former right-back Gary Neville criticized the Spaniard for being off the pace this season.
I’m just watching Azpilicueta over there, Neville remarked. It does bring me back to video games from the latter part of my career. There, he simply appeared broken.
Instead of demanding payment, the Blues may honor a club legend by allowing him to switch teams for free.
At his best, N’Golo Kante is still a viable choice, but one of his worse qualities is his lack of availability.
The Frenchman has played just nine times this season and has broken down again following a run of outings in April and May, reckoning the cost of the distance he covered during his prime years for Leicester and Chelsea.
The 2018 World Cup champion is 25th out of 32 players in terms of league minutes.
Kante’s value may still be high enough for Stamford Bridge directors to recuperate a respectable fee this summer, which is a possibility they ought to weigh.
The most notable illustration of Chelsea’s careless hiring is Christian Pulisic.
The American was signed by the Blues for £58 million in 2019, but they have since spent a fortune on new attackers, leaving him in a precarious situation.
Since Pochettino is bound to give Todd Boehly’s new acquisitions Mykhailo Mudryk and Noni Madueke top priority, there doesn’t seem to be any chance for him to return to Stamford Bridge.
Given that a transfer to AC Milan has been rumored, Chelsea will want to sell the player quickly.
Only a “class A circus” kept Hakim Ziyech from switching from Chelsea to Paris Saint-Germain in January; the French team retaliated after repeatedly submitting false papers.
The Moroccan has been limited to limited minutes off the bench to try to get back on track after a brief rush of starts in January and February.
The player-club relationship is entirely destroyed, more so than with anyone else on this list, and it would be surprising if Ziyech even showed up for preseason.
Jordan Ayew equals John Paintsil’s Ghana record
After earning his 91st appearance against the Central African Republic in the final round of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifiers, Jordan Ayew hit a significant milestone in his Ghanaian career.
The 31-year-old gained further honors when he assumed leadership of the team in the absence of his brother Andre Ayew. He entered Ghana’s encounter with his head held high after winning the Crystal Palace Player of the Month award for August.
Mohammed Kudus’ outstanding free-kick goal and Ernest Nuamah’s late goal for the Black Stars—who was making only his second appearance—in the 88th minute helped Ghana, led by Jordan Ayew, come from behind to defeat their opponents 2-1.
In terms of Ghanaian internationals with the most outings, Jordan Ayew is now tied for fourth place with Andre Ayew (114), Asamoah Gyan (109), and Richard Kingson (93).
The former Olympique Marseille player declared after the game that he was prepared to raise his total with other contests.
He added, “I still have games left to play.”
Ayew, who has played for the squad consistently since his debut in 2010, has scored 19 goals and is expected to play a bigger role in Ghana’s upcoming games, including those in the 2026 World Cup qualifications and the 2023 AFCON competition, which will take place in Ivory Coast next year.
Neymar claims Saudi league could top Ligue 1 already
According to Brazilian captain Neymar, the football league in Saudi Arabia may already be more competitive than Ligue 1 in France.
The 31-year-old attacker left Paris Saint-Germain in August for approximately £77.5 million with add-ons for the Saudi Pro League.
In a transfer window that saw Saudi teams spend more than £700 million on foreign players, Neymar signed with Al-Hilal.
I wouldn’t be astonished if the Saudi league is superior to the French, he remarked, given the names that were sent to Saudi Arabia.
According to data from the football governing organization Fifa, Saudi clubs’ spending on foreign agreements this summer was second only to the Premier League, whose teams spent just under £1.6bn on foreign transactions.
Although Al-Ittihad was unable to lure Mohamed Salah away from Liverpool, other Premier League players, including Jordan Henderson, Roberto Firmino, and Fabinho, moved to Saudi Arabia.
Karim Benzema of Real Madrid, Georginio Wijnaldum of PSG, and Sadio Mane of Bayern Munich were also courted by Saudi clubs.
Marcelo Brozovic, the captain of Inter Milan in the Champions League final, Franck Kessie of Barcelona, Jota of Celtic, and Sergej Milinkovic-Savic of Lazio are among more players who have made the move to the Saudi Pro League.
A brand-new transfer world record might have also occurred. After making a £259 million offer, PSG allowed Al-Hilal to speak with Kylian Mbappe. However, the forward chose to stay with the French champions, and Neymar was instead sold.
Although Neymar’s tenure in Paris was limited by ankle ailments after transferring from Barcelona for a record sum of £200 million in 2017, he assisted PSG in winning five Ligue 1 championships.
While representing Brazil internationally, Neymar said: “I can promise you that Saudi Arabian football is the same. We have goalposts, and the ball is spherical.
“There is no mystery. There, we practice hard because we still have a strong desire to win.
“I want Al-Hilal to win championships. Not much has changed.
Saudi Pro League, according to Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp, poses a greater threat than not.
The Saudi deadline, which ended over a week after the top leagues in Europe, drew criticism from a number of Premier League managers.
Jurgen Klopp, the manager of Liverpool, stated last week that the Saudi Pro League felt more dangerous than not. According to Klopp, it’s important to “protect the game and ensure that European leagues remain as strong as they are.”
Henderson, a staunch ally of the LGBTQ+ community, claimed that criticism of his transfer had “really hurt” him.
Given that same-sex sexual conduct is prohibited in Saudi Arabia, some LGBTQ+ activists have questioned his decision.
Richard Ofori and Jordan Ayew train with the Black Stars in Kumasi
Prior to their upcoming encounter against Central African Republic (CAR), Black Stars teammates Richard Ofori and Jordan Ayew arrived in Kumasi in time for their team’s first training session.
After landing in Kumasi, the team held their first practice at the Baba Yara Stadium with 24 players present (Joseph Paintsil was not there).
when previously reported by DEK360ghana, the squad held its first practice on Monday in Accra with only approximately 12 players present. However, most of the players eventually joined when they traveled from the capital to Kumasi.
While his teammates continue to train in Kumasi in preparation for the crucial encounter, Paintsil is the only unfit player who is considered present in Accra.
However, because the event was intended to be private, access to the Baba Yara Stadium was refused to both media and spectators.
As the pivotal game in the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifier approaches, the team is slated to hold another practice that will likely be accessible to the media.
Ghana must either win or draw to qualify for the tournament, which will be hosted by Ivory Coast’s neighbors the following year, while CAR must win in order to advance.
The game kicks off on Thursday at the Baba Yara Stadium at 16:00GMT