4 Players Who Could Be Leaving Chelsea in Summer 2013
When a club is owned by an obscenely wealthy oligarch, the majority of the transfer speculation naturally surrounds the splashing of some serious cash. However, with Financial Fair Play coming into force, Chelsea and the other super-rich clubs in Europe will need to adjust their wage bill in order to comply.
The depth of the squad was a key factor in Chelsea's exhausting 2012-13 season, but with players reaching the end of their contracts—and, in some cases, careers—there will be some changes at Stamford Bridge this summer.
Here are the top four players who could be heading for the exit this summer.
Yossi Benayoun has spent the majority of his time at Chelsea out on loan, first with Arsenal and then with West Ham for the first few months of the 2012-13 season. Rafa Benitez brought him back in January and proceeded to use him as a second-half substitute in matches where he certainly had better options available from the bench.
That's the issue with Benayoun. He is a competent midfielder, and were it not for the glut of midfield talent currently overloading both the bench and the wage bill, he could work well in a rotational role at Chelsea. However, there are at least four players ahead of him in terms of ability, and it is not worth the time and effort of either Benayoun or the club to try to accommodate him.
His contract expires on June 30 and there have been no indications that it will be extended.
Fernando Torres scored 22 goals in all competitions for Chelsea in 2012-13. Whilst there was something in the air on the night of the Europa League final that said that he would play an important part in the game, past experience prevented any Chelsea fans from getting too ahead of themselves.
Torres seems to finally be settling in at Stamford Bridge, and the supporters are happy to see him doing well. Despite this, the shadow of his early form for the club looms large, and there is a fear that he will suffer yet another setback. His 14 Premier League goals since January 2011 still do not represent a good return on Chelsea's £50 million investment.
It would be a footballing fairy tale for him to see out his contract and come good. However, if the opportunity arises to use him as a make-weight in a cash-plus-player deal, Roman Abramovich will surely be ready to say "adios" to the striker.
Ross Turnbull has acted as backup to Chelsea's first-choice goalkeeper, Petr Cech, since 2009. His lack of match practice saw him concede eight goals in seven appearances in 2012-13, and with the emergence of Thibaut Courtois as a genuine contender to Cech's starting position, it is likely that Turnbull will leave the club when his contract expires at the end of June.
Once the lynchpin of the Chelsea midfield, age and injury have crept up on "The Bison" in recent years. In his prime, he was the consummate box-to-box midfielder, whose man-marking skills were second to none.
However, the likes of David Luiz and Ramires are now miles ahead in the pecking order, and whilst it would be sad to see him go, it makes both fiscal and footballing sense for Essien to move on from Stamford Bridge.