Chelsea are currently in the midst of a run of form which has seen them win just two of their last five Premier League fixtures, leading to the club dropping to fourth place—the last of the qualification spots for next season's UEFA Champions League.
With plenty of the top sides still to play this season, there is now a very real possibility that last season's winners of the Champions League might not even qualify for the tournament for 2013-14—and this after exiting at the group stage this time around in the defence of their title.
Chief executive Ron Gourlay has spoken of the huge importance of the club qualifying for the top continental competition next season, and beyond (via BBC):
Achieving one of the Champions League qualification slots is very important to this football club. It is important we remain focused on the job in hand, which is qualifying for the Champions League, and then at the end of the season we will sit down, have a look at the situation and determine how we go forward. Our whole philosophy is based on success on the football field, and we have been doing everything in our power to ensure one of these slots.
With a five-point buffer over fifth-place Arsenal at present, there is no imminent danger of Chelsea dropping even further, but a failure to finish in the top four could have serious repercussions, not the least of which could affect the playing staff.
Here are some of the biggest names at the club who could make a summer exit if the blues don't manage to finish in the top four.