Chelsea may have no manager but they are ploughing ahead with a serious overhaul of the playing staff, with up to five players leaving and five more coming in.
Didier Drogba is not one of the players that Chelsea are looking to move on, despite interest from Tottenham Hotspur and Galatasaray. In fact, Chelsea are considering offering the 33-year-old an extension to his current contract, which has one year left to run. Instead, Chelsea are open to offers for Nicolas Anelka, who also has one year to run on his current deal.
The club will also allow Yuri Zhirkov, Jose Bosingwa, Paulo Ferreira and Henrique Hilario to leave over the summer. They would also listen to offers for some of their younger players including Jack Cork and Gaël Kakuta. Fabio Borini has already joined Parma, but Patrick van Aanholt has signed a new four-year deal.
Last summer, five senior players were allowed to leave and only two were brought in. Chelsea, who have earmarked several young players as new recruits, will not make the same mistake again.
Their main transfer targets include the Brazilian striker Neymar, 19, from Santos, who they tried to sign a year ago but their offer of £17.5m was turned down; Racing Genk's 19-year-old Belgian left-winger Kevin de Bruyne; the highly rated 18-year-old Belgian striker Romelu Lukaku at Anderlecht; and Netherlands right-back Gregory van der Wiel of Ajax, who is 23. They will also target a reliable second-choice goalkeeper as back-up for Petr Cech, and a return move for Asmir Begovic at Stoke City is not being ruled out.
Chelsea's transfer policy is being led by chief executive Ron Gourlay, who sacked Carlo Ancelotti on Sunday afternoon just minutes after Chelsea lost 1-0 to Everton.
Ancelotti is still putting the finishing touches to his compensation package of around £5m, having successfully insisted that Chelsea do not insert a clause into the agreement that would prevent him from working for another Premier League club immediately. Chelsea had tried to insert the clause, as Ancelotti had one year left to run on the three-year deal he signed in 2009, but the Italian said that he would rather take a smaller compensation figure.
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