The Chelsea clear-out could be about to gather pace.
One of the first acts of new manager Antonio Conte will be to rid himself of the deadwood at the club before bringing in some of his preferred targets, with a number of prospective signings (mostly from Serie A) being linked with the Blues.
Some players, such as Alexandre Pato, Radamel Falcao, Loïc Rémy and John Terry are virtually guaranteed to be leaving Stamford Bridge. Others, such as Diego Costa and Thibaut Courtois, would probably like to leave but will be priced out of moves. Eden Hazard, meanwhile, would likely depart too given the opportunity but for all the world it appears that his preferred destinations – Paris Saint-Germain or Real Madrid – don’t seem too keen on him anymore.
Doubt also surrounds the Chelsea futures of Oscar, John Obi Mikel and Nemanja Matić – and reports today suggest that the latter could be on his way to Conte’s former club Juventus.
Matić was an instrumental player in the side that won the Premier League title in 2015, but has looked a shadow of that player this year in a side that has badly struggled for form this season under Mourinho and Guus Hiddink.
The Express are reporting that the Serie A giants have been looking to work out a deal with both Chelsea and Matić, and are increasingly confident of hammering out a £20m agreement to take the Serbian international to the Juventus Stadium.
Conte has earmarked the midfield as an area in need of a much-needed overhaul – he may decide that Matić is surplus to requirements in his new-look starting eleven, especially if he pushes ahead with his plan to sign Roma’s Radja Nainggolan.
This would not be the first time that Chelsea sold Matić, were it to happen. In 2011, he was sent to Benfica as part of the £21m deal to take Brazilian David Luiz to Stamford Bridge, before being bought back by the club for £24m three years later.
One exiled player who is set to feature in Conte’s plans, however, is Colombian international Juan Cuadrado. The 27 year old made only a handful of starts at the the club following a €30m move from Fiorentina in Jaunary 2015, before being sent out on loan to spend this season at Juventus.
Although he would like to make his move to Juve permanent, he may not be given a choice in the matter as Conte apparently sees him as an important part of Chelsea’s plans for next season.