Antonio Conte is beginning to mould the Chelsea side he took over in July as own and it’s already quite apparent which players are featuring in his plans and which aren’t.
With any new manager, there are always going to be players that fall by the wayside and that means they could be the first ones to exit once the transfer window opens up again in January.
The former Italy and Juventus man has already cleared out most of the deadwood he had inherited and that’s not to mention the abundance of players who have once again been loaned out to clubs across Europe.
But there are still a few names that could be shown or are looking for the exit door themselves over the course of the next few months.
Let’s now look at three players who may eventually see their futures away from the bright lights of West London…
Arguably the biggest casualty since Antonio Conte took over at Chelsea, Cesc Fabregas has had to do with a marginalised role at Stamford Bridge since the arrival of the former Italy boss. A lot of that has to do with the fact that Conte has adopted a 4-1-4-1 formation and the question now is where do you fit in a player like Fabregas.
With Nemanja Matic and Oscar being trusted to play in front of N’Golo Kante in the centre of midfield it means there is no room at present for Fabregas, with the former Arsenal and Barcelona player’s role in the team becoming predominately one of a substitute.
Fabregas has been linked with a move away perhaps even early as January but the overriding question would be where would he go. A move to Spain doesn’t look to be on the cards as he has already returned to the Camp Nou while you would have to imagine a move to the Bernabeu and Real Madrid would be somewhat off limits.
That would then leave Italy as the next possible destination with both Juventus and Inter Milan in the running for the obtaining the services of the 29-year-old. A lot will depend on how much top level game time Fabregas gets in the next few months as to whether he may say arrivederci to Stamford Bridge and decide that his future lies elsewhere.
The Nigerian midfielder’s long stint at Stamford Bridge looks set to come to an end within the next few months with reports starting that Mikel is more than ready to sit out the final year on his contract and leave on a bosman next summer.
Mikel could confirm that departure as soon as January as he would be able to sign a new contract with any non-English club and end what would be an 11 year tenure in west London. The 29-year-old Nigerian has yet to feature in any of the club’s Premier League matches and doesn’t look likely to play a prominent role in Antonio Conte’s plans this season.
His time at Chelsea underwent some level of resurgence under Guus Hiddink at the beginning of the year with the then interim manager trusting a familiar face to undertake the leg work in centre midfield but since the arrival of N’Golo Kante he hasn’t been able to get anywhere near a first team start.
He has been a decent servant to Chelsea even if he hasn’t quite gone down in the annals of history at the west London club but after earning a very respectable trophy haul in his decade at the club you would imagine he will leave with the club’s blessing once his contract comes to an end.
Another player who could leave Stamford Bridge once his contract comes to and end is Thibaut Courtois. The Belgian keeper’s deal doesn’t expire until the end of the 2017/18 campaign but his comments in the last few days will certainly put the upper elements of the Chelsea hierachy on red alert.
He was quoted in Spanish newspaper, Marca, as saying that he would very much consider a return to Atletico Madrid once his contract expires.
The 24 year old spent three incredibly successful seasons at the Vicente Caldreon between in 2011 and 2014 and left behind a large army of admirers.
Not only that but he seems to have won some admirers from the white half of Madrid as Real were reported to have wished him a speedy recovery during his time out with a leg injury which saw him miss three months of last season. Could Real perhaps be willing to play the long game here and welcome him to the Bernabeu in a couple of years’ time?
The comments from Courtois will certainly give Chelsea food for thought as they will look to get him to sign a new contract to keep him in London, the question they may have to answer come the summer is that if Courtois isn’t willing to sign a new one then do they sell them in the summer to avoid him walking away in 2018 for nothing. Chelsea fans will have to watch this space and hope that he eventually puts pen to paper on a new deal.