Belfast Telegraph

Kalou and Bosingwa to leave as Chelsea rebuild

By Sam Wallace

Chelsea will announce this morning that two more of the XI who started Saturday's Champions League final will leave the club, as the European champions begin another summer of rebuilding.

Like that of Didier Drogba, the names of Salomon Kalou and Jose Bosingwa will not feature on the list of retained players which has to be submitted to the Premier League by all clubs today.

Bosingwa, a £16.2m signing in 2008 from Porto, during Luiz Felipe Scolari's brief reign, enjoyed a renaissance under the interim manager Roberto Di Matteo, long enough to win Champions League and FA Cup winners' medals, after being frozen out by Andre Villas-Boas. The option to extend his contract was not taken up and he is a free agent.

Kalou served six years at Chelsea, dating back to Jose Mourinho's time. A £9m signing from Feyenoord, he was never able to count himself as a first choice but he proved useful over the years. He too was largely ignored by Villas-Boas but made a return to the team under Di Matteo; his last goal was the winner against Benfica in Lisbon in the Champions League quarter-final first leg, in March.

At 26, Kalou will be a useful free signing. Bosingwa proved in Munich that he still has the capability to perform at a good level. But at Chelsea, with the European Cup (albeit with a small dent in the front) in place, the emphasis is to move into another summer of change. That will involve signings but also assessing the future of established names and young players out on loan.

The club expects to have the futures of Frank Lampard, Florent Malouda, Michael Essien and Paulo Ferreira resolved by September: they have one year left on their contracts. With Di Matteo's future still up for consideration there is no permanent manager, but Chelsea are pressing ahead with reshaping the squad.

Decisions have to be made on whether Thibaut Courtois, the goalkeeper who has spent a very successful year on loan at Atletico Madrid, comes into the fold or stays in Spain, and on the immediate futures of his Belgian compatriots Romelu Lukaku, the teenager who struggled to make an impression this season, and Kevin De Bruyne, who stayed at Genk on loan after he signed for Chelsea in January.

The club accept that Josh McEachran's failure to play first-team games on loan to Swansea City last season was far from ideal, and that experience will inform where they place their young loan players next season.

While the club decides on a new manager, the leadership on transfers and loans comes from the football committee, which comprises the board of directors (including the owner, Roman Abramovich) and the technical director, Michael Emenalo, and performance director, Mike Forde.

The chief executive, Ron Gourlay, said yesterday Chelsea would target "three to four" new players. He added: "You are always looking to introduce new players... Will you see some new faces? Yes, you will, and you may see a couple of faces go. But at the end of the day, that's just normal end-of-the-season practice."

Chelsea are one of the leading contenders to sign the Lille attacker Eden Hazard, one of the most sought-after players in Europe, but Gourlay said the club would not be held to ransom on transfer fees or wages.

"At the end of the day we have [Uefa] Financial Fair Play and other clubs are in the same situation as us," he said. "You have to meet certain criteria and whilst it differs for some European clubs on the basis of how they generate their revenues, certainly the domestic teams are all audited the same way. We know what the challenges are. We will have a valuation on a player and if we can't make that work we will drop out."

Belfast Telegraph


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