After Roman Abramovich was sanctioned by the UK government, Chelsea’s future has become uncertain, and the futures of several players in the squad are now in doubt.
The government described Abramovich as a “pro-Kremlin oligarch” who has “had a close relationship for decades” with Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to a statement released on Thursday.
Chelsea has been granted a ‘general licence,’ which allows the club to operate under certain restrictions, while Abramovich’s assets in the UK have been seized.
Chelsea is currently unable to negotiate new contracts for their players due to the restrictions, which are in place until May 31, 2022 and could potentially be extended.
The contracts of three first-team regulars – captain Cesar Azpilicueta, Antinio Rudiger, and Andreas Christensen – will all expire at the end of the season. Chelsea has nine players whose contracts are set to expire at the end of June and who could leave on a free transfer.
Azpilicueta and Christensen have both been linked with a move to Barcelona, while Rudiger has attracted interest from a number of clubs across Europe, including PSG, Manchester United, and Real Madrid.
And it could force Arsenal to rethink their transfer plans, having been credited with an interest in Blues striker Armando Broja in the last month.
With Arsenal searching for a new right-back in the summer, likely to account for a hopeful Cedric Soares departure, Livramento is someone the club should be looking at. Young, homegrown, tactically comfortable and who appears to have an excellent attitude, it’s an opportunity for Arsenal to bolster their ranks with a player perfectly suited to the transfer strategy.
While even without the current sanctions this is a move Arsenal could have gone for, the general uncertainty surrounding Chelsea makes it even more worth delving into.
Mikel Arteta really wanted Tammy Abraham. If the club had succeeded in shifting one or both of Eddie Nketiah and Alexandre Lacazette over the summer then the team everyone has been watching throughout the season would be look different.
Instead signing for Roma on a fee worth £34m – despite it being known that Abraham favoured a move to the club he’s supported as a boy – Chelsea also inserted another buyback clause in the deal, this time worth a whopping £68m. As with Livramento the clause only becomes active after two seasons, but even the slim chance of Abraham returning to Chelsea in 18 months appear dead.
However, the 24-year-old is having a fine debut season in Italy, netting 20 goals across 34 appearances, and with any possibility of a return to Chelsea dead in the water, Arteta may look into another swoop for his former target.
Roma and Arsenal are said to have good relations despite the breakdown of Granit Xhaka’s move last summer, and reports continue to claim that the Italian side will go back in for the midfielder at the end of the season. Abraham is on long contract and the £68m buyback is steep, although what is to say that Xhaka won’t be used as a makeweight?