Chelsea Transfers: 5 Blues Who Could Leave Stamford Bridge in Summer
Chelsea are traditionally very active in summer transfer windows. In 2012 they spent nearly £100 million, with the transfers of Eden Hazard and Oscar taking over half of that total.
As Financial Fair Play comes into force in time for the 2013-14 season, the Blues will need to reduce their wage bill to ensure that they comply with the regulations. There is a full squad out on loan whose wages are at least partially paid by Chelsea, and the club currently has some very expensive bench warmers.
The debate over whether to offer Frank Lampard a new contract appears to hang on whether he is willing to take a significant wage cut. If not, he could become one of the more high profile names to leave Stamford Bridge when the transfer window opens in June.
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Florent Malouda has been excluded from the 25-man Premier League squad for the 2012-13 season. A prospective move to the MLS fell through in the summer of 2012 and since then he has been forced to train with the reserves and academy sides.
His contract expires in June and after missing out on a whole season of competitive football, it is a certainty that he will walk away on a Bosman. This would save Chelsea £80,000 a week as they look to cut costs.
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Fernando Torres' transfer was worth £50 million in January 2011. After his dramatic decline, there is no doubt that Chelsea will have to take a huge loss if they want to get rid of the Spanish striker.
His wages are a staggering £175,000 a week, and there is no evidence to show that he is £25,000 a week more valuable than Frank Lampard. There has been talk that Torres could be included as part of a deal for Radamel Falcao, but with Atletico Madrid seriously struggling financially, there is no way they could afford to match his current lucrative pay packet.
Torres' contract keeps him at Chelsea until 2016 and unless he produces a dramatic turn-around in form, the club's PR team will have to work overtime to find a suitor willing to take him off their hands.
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Michael Essien commanded a £24.4 million transfer fee when he joined Chelsea from Lyon in 2005. In the eight years that he has been at Stamford Bridge he has won the club's goal of the season award twice and in his prime was the best box-to-box midfielder in Europe.
In 2009, he marked Lionel Messi out of the Champions League semifinal against Barcelona at Stamford Bridge and still managed to find the space to score a sublime goal. "The Bison" has been an excellent servant for Chelsea, but a series of knee injuries have affected his form in recent years.
At the beginning of the 2012-13 season he was reunited with Jose Mourinho on a season-long loan at Real Madrid. Having been given an extension to his contract in 2010 which keeps him at Chelsea until 2015, the Blues could cash in on a player who has been replaced by the likes of David Luiz and Ramires in the holding midfield role.
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Chelsea signed the Israeli international from Liverpool in July 2010 for a fee of £5.5 million. He was initially brought in to act as midfield cover as at the time the Blues were preparing to lose Michael Ballack, Joe Cole and Deco.
After a mediocre start Benayoun's chances at Chelsea were limited by a ruptured Achilles tendon which saw him sidelined from September 2010 until April 2011. Benayoun gave his number 10 shirt to Juan Mata when he arrived in summer 2011 before departing for a season-long loan at Arsenal.
Having missed out on Chelsea's Champions League triumph, Benayoun spent the first five months of the 2012-13 season on loan at West Ham, returning to West London in January.
Since his return he has criticised the handling of Fernando Torres by the three previous Chelsea managers and his chances of getting a first-team start have been greatly diminished by the Three Amigos. His departure would shave £75,000 a week from Chelsea's bloated wage bill and allow the 32-year-old to finish his career playing regular football.
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Since signing for Chelsea in 2001, "Super" Frank Lampard has attained legendary status at Stamford Bridge. Having scored 199 goals for the club and captaining the side on their triumphant night in Munich, scoring a penalty in the shootout, Lampard is on course to break the Chelsea all-time goalscoring record of 202 set by Bobby Tambling in the 1960s.
His contract expires in June and at the age of 34, he is subject to the same policy which saw Didier Drogba depart the club last summer. The club is firmly against offering players over the age of 30 contracts longer than one year in length.
Ashley Cole, whose contract was due to expire at the same time as Lampard's, was offered a new deal in January but an extension for Super Frank is yet to materialise.
Both former players and the Stamford Bridge faithful have been vociferously urging Roman Abramovich to "sign him up" to no avail. The club has stated that there have been no talks over a new deal which is causing further frustration for Frank and the fans.
If Lampard is allowed to walk away as a free agent in June, it will be a travesty for the club. He has a wealth of talent and experience to offer both on and off the pitch as Chelsea attempt to bring youngsters such as Josh McEachran through the ranks.
As well as offering to take a £100,000 a week pay-cut, Lampard has repeatedly stated his desire to end his career at the club. To reject such loyal and dedicated service because he has the wrong date of birth would be an even more ridiculous decision than sacking Roberto Di Matteo and replacing him with Rafa Benitez.