By Editor Wayne Veysey
Chelsea are planning a major clear-out of underperforming stars next year irrespective of whether Jose Mourinho is sacked, Football Insider sources understand.
Mourinho’s position is back on the agenda after Chelsea slipped to their ninth Premier League defeat of the season on Monday night to leave them marooned in 16th in the table, just one point above the relegation zone.
The Portugese lashed out at his players in the aftermath of the 2-1 defeat at Leicester by accusing them of “betrayal” for failing to follow his instructions.
It was the latest in a series of public criticisms made of his squad by Mourinho, who has pointed the finger at a number of his big-name flops this season.
A Chelsea recruitment source has told Football Insider that up to nine players are set to be shipped out and replaced in a drastic overhaul of the team that cakewalked to the title just seven months ago.
John Terry, Cesc Fabregas, Branislav Ivanovic, Oscar, Radamel Falcao, John Obi Mikel and Loic Remy could all leave, while the futures of star men Eden Hazard and Diego Costa are also in serious doubt.
Whatever happens with his own position, Mourinho has persuaded owner Roman Abramovich and the club hierarchy that a shake-up of the squad is needed to drag them to the next level.
Chelsea have held back from sacking Mourinho on at two occasions already this season, and the position of the under-fire Portugese is once against under consideration as the team’s decline continues.
Abramovich and Mourinho have spoken at length to discuss the factors behind the team’s wretched form and the manager has expressed his dissatisfaction with the players at his disposal.
There will now be a major overhaul of the squad next year, firstly in the January transfer window and then again next summer.
Terry and Ivanovic, 35 and 31 respectively, could be two high profile departures. They are in the final years of their contracts and have been well below-par this season. Terry was substituted after 51 minutes against Leicester for only only the second time in his Chelsea career – the first was against Manchester City earlier this season.
Mikel and Remy are high-earning fringe players, while striker flop Falcao is on a season-long loan from Monaco and has showed little signs of the form that once made him one of the most-feared front men in Europe.
Mourinho is not convinced Oscar is ideally suited to the rigours of English football and would sanction a sale if Chelsea’s £30million-plus valuation was met.
It is the futures of Hazard, Costa and Fabregas, the holy attacking trinity in last season’s title win, that will generate the most attention. The controversial striker has not settled in England and is hankering after a return to Spain, while Hazard’s form has declined remarkably from last season, when he was the double-winning Footballer of the Year.
Fabregas has been dropped for the last two matches at the end of a forgettable year in which his form has nosedived.
By Editor Wayne Veysey