The January transfer window is expected to pass without incident for Thomas Tuchel and Chelsea as the new head coach starts his first full week for the club.
Chelsea haven’t signed anyone this month, only a few hours left, but a few fringe players are allowed to leave the club.
Lucas Piazon ended his eight year stint at the club by moving permanently to Rio Ave in Portugal. Piazon, an experienced member of the “Leiharmee”, three outings in the first team, seven loan spells and a broken leg later, left the club this month.
Outcast midfielder Danny Drinkwater was also on loan and joined Kasimpasa in Turkey for the remainder of the season. Dfender Fikayo Tomori was also on loan to join Italian giants AC Milan. On the cut-off date, the Blues let youngster Jack Wakely drive to Brighton to join the U23 setup.
Such a later change of manager in the window likely always meant that Chelsea would not be busy during the latter part of the month. Tuchel has been on duty for less than a week and seems to be moving forward with the roster he has.
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Declan Rice’s constant ties with a move from West Ham to West London have fallen off pretty quickly since Frank Lampard was hired as a manager a week ago. Bayern Munich CEO Karl Heinz-Rumenigge has claimed Chelsea are interested in RB Leipzig’s Dayot Upamecano but it’s too late to take a step.
So it increasingly looks as if summer will be the time when Tuchel can really shape his squad in terms of income and expenses.
In addition to the connections to Upamecano, Chelsea was also linked to a blockbuster change for Borussia Dortmund striker Erling Haaland. However, for that to happen, Tuchel must get Chelsea in the top four at the end of the season.
However, he will also have to make some decisions to target his current group of players, with some contracts expiring in the summer and also next year for those that could be dragged on for a certain sale value.
This summer will see Olivier Giroud and Thiago Silva both have reached the end of their current contracts. Silva has established himself as the club’s number one center-back and is still world class. Giroud has seen season at times but Tuchel’s plans for the striker are not yet clear.
Giroud started Tuchel’s first responsible game, the 0-0 win against Wolves, and his future has been a constant debate for the past 12 to 18 months.
Willy Caballero and Victor Moses are also from the contract at the end of the campaign. Caballero could continue as a substitute, especially if the club decides to sell Kepa Arrizabalaga after his fights and the signing of Edourard Mendy last summer.
Moses is currently on loan from Spartak Moscow, which includes an option to buy. He was a regular in the Russian League until the winter break, but we’ll see if they’ll take advantage of that option. Chelsea, not renewing his contract this month for a possible resale value, says a lot.
In the summer of 2022, some players no longer have a contract. If Chelsea want some money back for them, this summer could be their last in the capital.
Antonio Rudiger The club’s contract runs in 2022. After the German defender was brought back from the cold by Lampard and later by Tuchel, he could still have a future.
Another defender whose contract expires next summer is Andreas Christensen, who has recently struggled with fitness and form problems. If he doesn’t see a few regular minutes under Tuchel, Chelsea could be tempted to make money.
There are two left-backs who are also no longer under contract at the end of next season – Baba Rahman and Emerson Palmieri. Simply put, it will be a surprise if either of them stays at the club after the end of this season, let alone until the end of the next.
In contrast, Cesar Azpilicueta The contract can also be extended to the end of the 2021/22 season. The loyal club will approach the age of 33 when this contract expires.
The Blues are unlikely to keep him after that, but you suspect they’d be delighted to see a player who has made 400+ appearances and has been at the club on his own terms for a decade.
Danny Drinkwater is also no longer under contract late next season after signing a five-year deal when he made his £ 35m move from Leicester City. Aside from a massive turnaround in shape and fortune for the midfielder, he might not see the end of his business in London.