It’s that time of the year again.
You know, when the top three teams in every league spend dozens of millions of dollars on the best players in the world to further separate themselves from the chasing pack. One such team, Chelsea, has a lot on their plate during this particular transfer window.
The John Terry, Frank Lampard, Didier Drogba backbone appears to be losing a step for the Blues, and reinforcements appear necessary for Chelsea to take the Premier League title back from Manchester United in 2011-2012. They look ready to spend some major cash this offseason, with Neymar at the top of their transfer list.
In order to make room for these new recruits, mainstays of the current roster have to make way. Chelsea are currently managerless, which makes it interesting to see how the roster changes will influence the new manager’s plans, whoever it may be (*cough cough* Gus Hiddink *cough cough*).
Here are seven players that could leave Stamford Bridge in the near future.
A big-money arrival in 2008, Jose Bosingwa has failed to make a long-term impact on the starting XI. The right back has shown stretches of being an excellent footballer, but his lack of consistency will be the reason why he is likely to depart.
He was given a one-year extension to his contract in January, which will mean Chelsea will get some sort of compensation should a team approach for his services.
The right back has had some dazzling displays for Chelsea over his career, but he has only played in 21 EPL games over the past two seasons after a few horrific injuries threatened to derail his career.
Bosingwa is a world class player, and I’m not sure why Chelsea would give up on him so easily. A host of top Europeans would line up at the door for his services should the Blues deem him surplus to requirements.
The hot debate around Stamford Bridge involves what to do with the Ivory Coast striker. He has been a talisman for the club since arriving in 2004, scoring 95 goals in 202 Premier League games. However, he appears to be losing a step at age 33 and looks very unhappy playing in the back seat to January arrival Fernando Torres.
It would be interesting to see where Drogba would go at this stage in his career. He would attract interest of course, but it may be in his best interest to stay at Chelsea, especially if he doesn’t want to take a pay cut.
Whoever takes charge at Chelsea will have to figure out how to play the two star strikers together, or Drogba could be on his way out of town.
Not much analysis required here. Hilario has served as Petr Cech’s backup since 2006 and has only appeared in 18 games over that stretch.
He did not help himself in one of his most recent performances against Manchester City. A 4-2 defeat in 2010 revealed him as a liability and now that his contract is up, Chelsea can seek to upgrade the position.
Now 34, Hilario can look to finish up his career as a starter for a less-reputable club.
One of the last remaining bastions from Jose Mourinho’s Porto-turned-Chelsea squad, Ferreira has been a loyal servant to the Blues. A workmanlike defender who was always reliable, he has been replaced in the starting lineup by a variety of players but has always come back to deliver solid performances for the first team.
Now 32, Ferreira finally looks ready to move on. Chelsea have to get younger and more skillful, two things that appear beyond the right-sided defender.
File this one under the bad investment column.
Signed in 2009 from CSKA Moscow for £18 million, the once highly touted left-sided player has failed to make an impact in the Premier League. Some fans will argue that he has not been given ample opportunity to prove himself in the first team.
With the emergence of Florent Malouda as a dynamic playmaker and Ashley Cole the rock at left back, Zhirkov appears to be the odd man out at Stamford Bridge. I wouldn’t be surprised if he thrived elsewhere, as he is in the prime of his career and can bring a lot of things to the table for his new team.
A host of teams will be interested in acquiring the left-everything at a discount.
Another striker that has probably played his last game as a Chelsea player, Nicolas Anelka has already played for about 75 percent of the world's top teams. OK, that's an exaggeration, but the former PSG, Real Madrid, Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester City star enjoyed a rebirth in his time at Stamford Bridge.
An excellent wing-forward capable of doing anything asked of him, Anelka scored 47 goals in 116 EPL games in his three-and-a-half years at the club.
He is talented enough to remain on a team pushing for a Premier League title, but he could be the victim of Chelsea's plan to get younger this offseason. It would probably be more wise to part with the less-talented Salomon Kalou, but age will likely be the determining factor in this decision.
Talk about a loan spell igniting your career.
Before heading to Bolton on a six-month loan spell, little was known about Daniel Sturridge. His Chelsea appearences were limited to cup ties and from the subs bench. Once he was able to get an extended run with a first team at another club, he shined.
After dazzling at the Reebok, scoring eight goals in 12 EPL games, many teams are now trailing the England Under-21 international. Chelsea have jacked up the asking price for the 21-year-old, which may scare teams like Bolton away from Sturridge.
Spending £15-£20 million would be a major gamble. Although he was great at Bolton, he has such a short track record, and it's hard to believe he could do this for a prolonged period of time. He was at Manchester City for three years and found it tough sledding to make the first team, just like his time at Chelsea.
Someone might take the bait, though, because top-flight scorers are such a rare commodity.