Chelsea will be one of the most active clubs in the transfer market this summer as a mid-table finish and the absence of European competition next season looms large over them.
The Blues have endured their worst ever season under Roman Abramovich’s ownership. After a tumultuous start to the campaign that saw them drop closer and closer to the relegation zone, fan favourite Jose Mourinho was sacked in December.
Interim manager Guus Hiddink managed to steady things and with the announcement of Antonio Conte as the new manager next season, Chelsea will be looking to get back in the running for top honours in the Premier League.
The Italian manager has been linked with a host of Serie A players including Andrea Ranocchia, Radja Nainggolan, Kostas Manolas and Leonardo Bonucci. Conte would already have identified a number of players to sell in order to free up funds. One particular player was strongly believed to be on the way out, but recent developments have put that move in serious doubt.
Courtois wants to stay at Chelsea
The biggest star rumoured to be on the chopping board is Belgian goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois. The 23-year-old has been Chelsea’s first-choice keeper in the past couple of seasons, displacing Blues legend Petr Cech, who ended up moving to Arsenal.
However, after the club’s disastrous season, it was rumoured that the Belgian was actively pursuing a move away from the club. Regarded as one of the best young goalkeepers in the world, Courtois would command a fee of £50 million if he were to be sold.
A number of clubs including Real Madrid, Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain were said to be very interested in signing him. But the Belgian has recently dispelled all talks of a possible transfer by reaffirming that his future is at Stamford Bridge.
“It’s a beautiful club that easily won their championship,” said Courtois when he was asked about a possible move to PSG, according to French publication Le Parisien.
“But I like to play in England. PSG is a very nice club, but I am at Chelsea. I am 100% sure I want to stay at Chelsea.”
The Blues desperate to land Napoli hitman Higuain, Costa could head to China
Although most of the Serie A stars associated with a transfer to Stamford Bridge upon Conte’s arrival are defensive midfielders or playmakers, the number one target for the former Juventus manager will be a striker who nearly stopped Juventus from winning the Scudetto this season.
According to the Mirror, Antonio Conte is confident that he can secure the services of Argentine forward Gonzalo Higuain. The 28-year-old striker has scored 34 goals for I Partenopei this season and would bring the kind of stability and goal scoring prowess that the Blues desperately need up front.
Loic Remy, Alexandre Pato and Radamel Falcao will all most likely be heading out in the summer after having failed to impress. Chelsea will be on the hunt for a tried and tested striker who would instantly form the attacking focus of their attack, and Higuain definitely fits the bill.
They had a forward of that make last year, but Diego Costa has endured a season as poor as his club’s. The Spanish forward may find himself on the way out of Chelsea too, if the Blues manage to land Higuain. Costa has always been linked with a move back to former club Atletico, but there has reportedly been a £250,00-per-week offer from China that could entice the forward to ply his trade in the far east.