It may be fair to say that this summer could be one of most defining points in Chelsea Football Club's recent history.
A mass overhaul of playing and coaching staff is poised to be instigated by owner Roman Abramovich, who will be unsatisfied with the plight of his team just a year after their magnificent Champions League triumph against Bayern Munich.
That being said, Chelsea is on course to secure Champions League qualification for the 10th season in a row, and the club can now look forward to strengthening their squad ahead of challenging for the title next season.
But with the club set to be without a manager when Benitez leaves, could Jose Mourinho make a shock return to Stamford Bridge?
Come with us to see who could be arriving in West London this summer, and the players who could be leaving as a result.
The choices for managerial candidates are endless for Roman Abramovich, which is strange considering the lack of job security at the West London club. David Moyes of Everton, Malaga's Manuel Pellegrini and Jurgen Klopp, who has led Borussia Dortmund to the Champions League final, are said to be keen on the idea of taking over at Stamford Bridge.
But it seems there is only one man who is suitable to take the Blues forward after a treacherous season.
After finally securing the coveted prize of the Champions League last season, the Russian billionaire is reported to be ready to bring "The Special One," Jose Mourinho, back to Stamford Bridge, six years after departing the club.
Mourinho is said to be considering his future at Real Madrid after several much-publicized fallouts, including with club captain Iker Casillas.
And with the only chance of silverware resting on their Copa Del Rey Final clash with Atletico Madrid, Florentino Perez could be set to wield the axe, with former Blues boss Carlo Ancelotti, now at PSG, lined up to replace him.
The fans, players and even the media want Mourinho back at Chelsea. It's inconceivable to think that the 50-year-old mastermind will opt against making a dream return to West London.
From: Bayer Leverkusen
Fee: £20 million
Known to be one of the Blues' top targets this summer, the Blues may have to spend the best part of £20 million to secure the Germany international's signature. However, any deal to seal the deal could also see their young Belgian winger Kevin De Bruyne join the German side on loan.
The highly-rated 22-year-old, who represented his nation at Euro 2012, has long been courted by the West London club. And regardless of which manager passes through the doors at Stamford Bridge to take over the reins, it seems Roman Abramovich is willing to sanction the purchase, similar to previous deals involving Arjen Robben and Petr Cech.
A pacy forward with much skill on the ball and an eye for goal, Schurrle would certainly give the Blues more attacking options, with the Blues only having Fernando Torres and Demba Ba available for the current season.
Recent reports suggest a deal is close to completion, with Leverkusen's general manager Wolfgang Holzhauser revealing to Kicker magazine that Schurrle is likely to have already agreed to a pre-contract with Chelsea while the two clubs negotiate the details of the transfer.
From: Atletico Madrid
Fee: £45-50 million
It's one of those transfer sagas where you know it's completion is inevitable, but the timing remains a mystery. Similar to Cesc Fabregas' move to Barcelona in 2011, the Catalan club had tracked their former youth product for three seasons, failing to agree a deal.
Chelsea have experienced similar frustrations with Radamel Falcao, too. When Andre Villas-Boas took over, the club were outmuscled by Atletico Madrid, who splashed a whopping £35 million to bring Falcao to the Vicente Calderon. The Blues again failed to sign the Colombian with Roberto Di Matteo in charge, but it seems they could finally get their man.
A deal which could rise to £46 million is said to be in the works according to the Daily Mail, although Fernando Torres has ruled out being part of the deal which would see him return to his boyhood club. However, Manchester City, Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain are all reported to be keeping tabs on the situation.
Once again, the deal could be completed without a manager at the club, although assurances that Mourinho will arrive would undoubtedly help the Blues complete a deal for the world's most feared striker.
Position: Center Midfield
From: Real Madrid
If Chelsea fans thought Rafa Benitez would be the last person formerly associated with Liverpool to become a part of their history, they may have been mistaken. After an infamous scuffle in 2005, Frank Lampard could feel understandably betrayed if the Blues replaced him with rival Xabi Alonso.
The Real Madrid star, who returned to La Liga in 2009 after a £30 million switch from the Merseyside outfit, could be set to leave the Santiago Bernabeu at the end of the season when his contract expires.
ESPN report that the former Real Sociedad midfielder is unhappy with the uncertainty at the club, and could be tempted with a move back to the Premier League, with Lampard's future uncertain as his contract also expires this summer.
At 31, Alonso still has many years to offer as a deep-lying playmaker. A move could depend on whether Jose Mourinho returns to Chelsea, with Alonso said to be keen to continue working with the Portuguese tactician. Should the Blues secure his signing, it would significantly boost their chances of challenging for the title.
Frank Lampard - Arguably one of the biggest departures in Chelsea's history could occur this summer if Chelsea decide against offering Frank Lampard a new deal. A massive fan's favorite at the club, Lampard has been a loyal servant to the Blues and is just one goal away from equaling the all-time club record of 202 goals, set by Bobby Tambling.
Surely, one of the conditions of Mourinho's return would ride on Lampard staying, even if for another year, and with the 34-year-old's form this season, it's fair to say he deserves it. But should he decide to leave, a move to MLS-side LA Galaxy could be on the cards.
Michael Essien - So many players' futures are being based on whether Mourinho arrives or not, but no more than Essien. Mourinho signed Essien from Lyon in 2005 for £24 million and also took him on loan to Real Madrid this season. Assuming that he takes over, Essien will no doubt keep his place at the club. If another manager comes in, the Ghanaian could find himself sacrificed to make way for new arrivals.
Gary Cahill - Only signed from Bolton last January, England center half Cahill could be another player sold as Chelsea prepare for a summer shake up. While the 27-year-old has made a decent contribution this year, his consistency has been his downfall this season and has lost his place in the side to Branislav Ivanovic. On the plus side, there would many Premier League rivals vying for his signature should he become available.
Marko Marin - Only signed last summer for £7 million from Werder Bremen, Marin has endured a torrid season at Stamford Bridge, plagued by injuries, and as a result he has made just 15 appearances, with the majority coming from the bench. A loan move beckons for the struggling German to help regain his top form, and Russian club CSKA Moscow could reignite their interest after failing to sign him in January.
Kevin De Bruyne - The Belgium international is yet to make his competitive debut for Chelsea despite signing for £7 million in 2011 after loan spells at Genk and Werder Bremen, and he could be set to go out on loan again as part of the Andre Schurrle deal. Borussia Dortmund are also interested and have offered a large fee according to Kicker, but Chelsea are reluctant to sell the starlet.
Patrick Van Aanholt - Currently on loan at Chelsea's feeder club, Vitesse Arnehm, Van Aanholt has experienced regular football at the Eredivisie club, making 35 appearances this season. And with the Dutch left-back surplus to requirements—with Ashley Cole and Ryan Bertrand filling the left back position—the 22-year-old could seek a permanent move back to Holland.
Free transfers (contract expiring in June 2013)
The club have all but confirmed that Florent Malouda and Yossi Benayoun will not be offered new deals and will leave this summer, while Paulo Ferreira, Henrique Hilario and Ross Turnbull are all out of contract this summer and have yet to be given an extension on their current contract.
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