Chelsea are preparing to let a host of players, including USMNT star Christian Pulisic, leave in the summer, while other clubs are busy making plans for the future. ESPN’s Insider Notebook has the latest version.
Pulisic is part of Chelsea’s summer exodus plans
Christian Pulisic is set to lead a summer break at Chelsea as the Blues continue an overhaul of their squad, sources have told ESPN.
Since Todd Boiley and Clearlake Capital completed their takeover of the club last May, Chelsea have signed him 16 permanently and brought in two more players on loan (Denis Zakaria and Joao Felix) for a total cost of over €600m – including a British record signing worth €121m. Euro with Argentine midfielder Enzo Fernandez in January.
The recruitment drive has resulted in a bloated squad that the Blues will look to reduce at the earliest opportunity, with Pulisic one of the players expected to be available.
The USA international was open to leaving Stamford Bridge in January – Manchester United and Newcastle were among the clubs scouted for a deal – but a knee injury spoiled any transfer prospect. Prior to his injury, Pulisic had played 16 matches in the Premier League, but he was only named in the starting line-up for six matches.
Pulisic’s current contract expires in June 2024 and there are no plans at present to offer an extension. Chelsea are expected to listen to offers for the 24-year-old and accept that they will have to fork out the €64m paid Borussia Dortmund for the winger in 2019.
Hakim Ziyech is also likely to leave after his one-day loan move to Paris Saint-Germain collapsed due to paperwork issues, while striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang faces a bleak future at the club after being left out of Chelsea’s Champions League squad.
MLS’ LAFC is reportedly exploring a move for the 33-year-old, who could also attract summer interest from Spanish LaLiga clubs following his successful spell with Barcelona last year.
Sources have told ESPN that Mateo Kovacic, Kalidou Koulibaly and Callum Hudson-Odoi could also be available, while they will cut their losses on €115m striker Romelu Lukaku (currently on loan at Inter Milan). An attempt by Chelsea to convince the pair to sign new contracts.
Coach Graham Potter has admitted he faces a difficult challenge keeping every member of such a large squad fully engaged in the coming weeks – especially as many of them already know their futures probably lie elsewhere. – James Uley.
How ‘energy player’ Sabitzer is the perfect choice for Man United
Jaap Marcotti and Julien Laurens discuss what Marcel Sabitzer will be like at Manchester United.
Sabitzer could stay at Manchester United after his loan spell
Sources have told ESPN that Manchester United are ready to sign midfielder Marcel Sabitzer on a permanent basis in the summer if he is affected during his loan spell at Old Trafford.
Sabitzer joined United from Bayern Munich until the end of the season in a deal he struck in January that does not include an obligation or option to make the move permanent. Under the terms of the agreement, Sabitzer will return to Bayern in the summer, but United have told the Austria international there is still a chance of a long-term contract.
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Manager Erik ten Hag is hoping the possibility of securing a permanent move to Old Trafford will act as incentives for both Sabitzer and striker Wott Wieghorst – who was signed on loan from Burnley during the January window – between now and the end of the season. .
Sabitzer is under contract with Bayern Munich until 2025 but is expected to leave permanently in the summer. The 28-year-old has been dropped on the Allianz Arena transfer list and Bayern are set to bolster their midfield even further in the summer window by adding Konrad Leimer from Leipzig on a free transfer. – Rob Dawson.
Atletico targets free agent Thuram in the summer
Sources have told ESPN that Atletico Madrid is still the Borussia Monchengladbach striker on the list of summer transfer targets, but they fear he will miss out amid competition from Premier League clubs and Bayern Munich.
Thuram, 25, is a free agent at four months and was linked with Atletico during the January transfer window when the club were looking for a striker to fill the gaps left by the departures of Joao Felix and Matheus Cunha. However, Gladbach did not negotiate Thuram’s departure and Atletico ended up signing Memphis Depay from Barcelona for €4m instead.
Sources said Atletico are planning to make a new move for Thuram in June when his contract expires, but are working on replacements in case the France international ends up at another club.
Real Betis striker Borja Iglesias is one such option, though the deal for the 30-year-old expires in 2026 so the move could be complicated by Betis’ demands for a large transfer fee to allow him to leave.
Atletico are looking to move Felix on a permanent basis after his loan at Chelsea ends on June 30, with Memphis arriving in January to complete the attack alongside Alvaro Morata and Angel Correa. Memphis have decided to join Atleti after speaking with former Barcelona teammate Antoine Griezmann and the forward could also be key in persuading fellow international Thuram as well. Rodri Faiz.
Barcelona’s Ansu Fati has returned to full fitness
The results of Barcelona’s internal fitness tests confirmed Ansu Fati is now fully fit again, sources confirmed to ESPN, but the winger faces a battle to prove himself and win his place back in the first XI.
Ansu, 20, burst onto the scene as a 16-year-old in 2019, but his progress has been stunted by a series of long-term injuries in recent years. He returned at the end of last season, but his minutes were supervised by coach Xavi Hernandez, and he came off the bench 13 times in the 20 matches he played in La Liga this season.
A series of tests have now shown Ansu to be quick, resistant and in form as before, although sources insist he is 100% again having managed to stay injury-free this season through a total of 31 appearances – 22 of which have been off the bench. Benches – as he approaches a potential crossroads in his career.
Barcelona president Joan Laporta revealed on Thursday that he is aware of interest from elsewhere – with Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool all linked – but there have been no offers to sign the Spain international, in whom the Catalan club still have a lot of faith. Deposited in “, according to Laporta.
Xavi, meanwhile, has called for patience over transfer reports, but the lack of regular football could test Ansu’s determination as he trails Robert Lewandowski, Ousmane Dembele and Rafinha in the Camp Nou transfer hierarchy, with the latter switching to four midfielders no favours. for him.
In the 31 matches he played this season, he managed to score six goals, although he had not scored in La Liga since October, a period that spanned ten matches. However, he scored three times in January, twice in the Copa del Rey and once in the Spanish Super Cup. Sam Marsden and Moise Lorenz.