There’s a new era coming in along the Fulham Road this summer.
After a season of abject failure and disappointment and where hopes were once so high, reality raised its head, looked directly at Chelsea and decided that it wasn’t to be their year. The hand of fate decreed change and Roman Abramovich was quick to act.
Although interim manager, Guus Hiddink, turned the club’s results around, a finish of 10th, 31 points behind Leicester, tells its own sad story of a fallen new money giant.
It will seem strangely empty when the Champions League starts again, with the men in blue having been ever-present for some time now. They have been a fixture in Europe over the past 14 seasons and the fact that they are not to be a part of Europe’s biggest competition will hurt the club, as will the ultimate drop in revenue that comes without qualification.
And so it falls to the fiery Antonio Conte to re-build a team capable of challenging for the highest honours once more.
But who could leave Chelsea?
Here are FIVE set for the axe…
A wasted talent left sitting on the bench. The former Newcastle United and QPR striker has seen very little first-team action since his arrival in 2014. It was a frustrating season for the French international, who on top of everything else, has been excluded from the French squad for the European Championships this summer.
The Serbian midfielder had a torrid season, yet is said to be attracting clubs right across Europe. Juventus have long held an admiration for the experienced player, but the 27 year old may switch to Manchester United to re-join Jose Mourinho.
Another player looking to move away from Chelsea. Having fallen out of favour with former Blues boss Jose Mourinho, the Brazilian found life just as tough under Hiddink. He is one of a number of players expected to leave with Juventus linked with the midfielder.
The man with the mad eyes will be leaving Stamford Bridge and taking with him a series of run-ins with players and officials. His former club, Atletico Madrid are widely known to be keen to take him back and Costa could force a move back to Spain.
It’s claimed that Pato has not yet heard from the club or from incoming coach Antonio Conte about whether he is still wanted. The striker’s loan deal at Chelsea, whom he joined from Corinthians in January, is set to expire at the end of June. For now, Pato’s future is still in the open, but Chelsea have the option to buy. After a largely wasted time at Stamford Bridge, he is expected to leave.