Despite being tied down to long-term contracts, Chelsea FC fear the departures of Eden Hazard, Thibaut Courtois, Diego Costa and Oscar this summer according to an exclusive in the Sun newspaper.
The Blues’ 2015-2016 season has been an unmitigated disaster, and with Champions League football highly unlikely next season, the club could face a battle to keep some of their biggest stars at Stamford Bridge.
The likes of Eden Hazard and Oscar have been linked with moves to Real Madrid and Juventus respectively in the past, while there has been speculation that Brazil-born Spain international Diego Costa hasn’t quite managed to settle into life in London, and could think about a move back to Atlético Madrid.
According to an exclusive in the Sun newspaper by Rob Beasley — a journalist known to be close to sources in the Chelsea FC camp — the Premier League champions fear that the quartet of Hazard, Oscar, Courtois and Diego Costa could consider their futures this summer, despite having several years left on their contracts.
The report quotes a Blues’ source as saying: “Yes, they’re tied into deals but those contracts won’t stop rivals moving in at the end of the season. And they won’t stop our players considering their futures either. Contracts don’t count for a lot these days.”
The summer of 2016 will be the most important in the Roman Abramovich era
Given how the season has panned out thus far, it is highly likely that Chelsea FC will register their lowest league finish since Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich took over the club in 2003, while a 2012-style fairy-tale run in the Champions League is also looking extremely unlikely.
Not only will it be the first summer in the Roman era in which Chelsea FC will be tasked with attracting quality players without the promise of Europe’s premier club competition, but the club will also have to find a permanent manager to take over from Guus Hiddink.
As such, it is by far the most important off-season period in the club’s recent history, and the Blues must do everything in their power to keep their best players at the club. Although there could be some advantage in moving Oscar on –particularly if the new manager sees a permanent shift to a 4-3-3 and a club comes in with a tempting offer — the likes of Hazard, Courtois and Diego Costa must be retained at all costs.