Not many teams could field an entire lineup of unwanted fringe players, but then again, not many clubs have spent as recklessly as Chelsea over the last five years.
With plans to sign big names like Romelu Lukaku and Jules Kounde this summer, Chelsea know they need to raise a good sum of money. Fortunately for them, there are so many players on the books who are just begging for an exit from Stamford Bridge.
Here’s a closer look at them.
After that 2019/20 season, there is no way back at Chelsea for Kepa Arrizabalaga.
The world’s most-expensive goalkeeper, who still has four years left on his contract, has already been replaced by Edouard Mendy and needs to find a new home, but the finances needed to sort that out are what makes this whole thing so tricky.
A loan seems to be the only option, but finding a well-off side who still need a goalkeeper isn’t easy.
Potential destinations: Valencia, Lazio, Lille
For some reason, Chelsea felt Davide Zappacosta was worth £23m back in 2017. Now, they’ll be lucky to get a quarter of that.
He was never going to make it at Chelsea, but a nasty injury suffered on loan with Roma had him fighting to prove he was still useful at the top level.
Zappacosta did well enough on loan with Genoa last year, bagging four goals and two assists, and will have done enough to prove his worth to a handful of Serie A sides.
Potential destinations: Inter, Roma, Genoa, Sampdoria
Tipped to be the USA’s next superstar back in 2016, Matt Miazga just hasn’t pushed on as expected.
Now 26, he has publicly admitted his desire to leave Chelsea to find a permanent home, and there is an acceptance that he will have to drop down a peg or two to find his next employer.
Miazga did well enough last year with Anderlecht to prove his worth to a decent side, and there could be interest from across the continent in him.
Potential destinations: Anderlecht, Oostende, Reading
Now approaching 24 years old, it’s safe to say that Jake Clarke-Salter is not going to make the cut at Stamford Bridge.
The centre-back excelled on loan with Birmingham in 2019/20 but couldn’t match that level last season.
He’s somewhat of a risk for Championship sides, but Clarke-Salter’s form from his first spell with Birmingham should be enough to convince someone to buy low.
Potential destinations: Birmingham, Coventry, Bristol City, Blackburn
Baba Rahman’s story is a sad one. He joined from Augsburg in 2015 as one of the Bundesliga’s most exciting young left-backs and ended his debut campaign as the undisputed starter.
Then Antonio Conte arrived, brought Marcos Alonso with him and sent Baba on loan to Schalke, where his injury hell began. He tore his ACL and was out for 18 months, but after rebuilding himself with Reims in France, suffered a fresh knee injury that robbed him of another 18 months.
Baba spent the second half of 2020/21 with PAOK, where he was a key part of the side that won the Greek Cup, and has since had a solid pre-season with Chelsea. He’s nearly back on track.
Potential destinations: Augsburg, Olympiacos, Torino
A £40m signing from Monaco in 2017, Tiemoue Bakayoko offered Chelsea very little apart from a catchy chant.
He put in some disastrous showings in Chelsea blue but has since enjoyed some successful spells on loan in Italy. He’s not worth anywhere close to that £40m, but there’s still a solid player in there.
At the minute, it looks like Bakayoko might only actually be good in Italy, so it’s no surprise that plenty of Serie A sides are circling.
Potential destinations: AC Milan, Juventus, Napoli
We don’t need to talk about why spending £35m on Danny Drinkwater in 2017 was a bad idea. We all know it went awfully. The focus needs to be on how we get out of this mess.
He’s played 17 matches since 2018, enduring abysmal loan spells with Burnley and Aston Villa for which he must take a lot of the blame, and finding somebody to take him off Chelsea’s hands feels like an impossible task.
A solid showing in a pre-season friendly against Bournemouth might just have saved his career, but the shocker that he followed that up with against Arsenal will have reminded Chelsea of the battle they have on their hands.
Potential destinations: Honestly haven’t got a clue
There’s a real player deep down inside Charly Musonda, but his knees don’t want you to know that.
A nasty PCL injury in early 2018 didn’t heal as expected and led to a delayed surgery which kept him out for an extra two years. He hasn’t played back-to-back matches in four years now.
Even in pre-season, his attempts to impress Thomas Tuchel were ruined by an enforced isolation. The 24-year-old has had some of the most rotten luck imaginable, and he’s just desperate to restart his career.
Potential destinations: Vitesse, Cercle Brugge
Ross Barkley’s alright. He’s a decent footballer. Definitely a Premier League talent.
Unfortunately, he’s not good enough (and by that I mean ‘consistent enough’) to play for a top side like Chelsea, particularly given the level of competition for places at Stamford Bridge already.
He shouldn’t struggle to find a new home and Chelsea might even make a profit on the £15m they paid in 2018.
Potential destinations: West Ham, Everton, Aston Villa
No longer the future superstar he was when he first joined back in 2015, Kenedy has blossomed into a generally solid winger.
The 25-year-old has just finished the best season of his career with Granada, racking up eight goals and six assists on 44 games and proving that he can actually hang in a top league.
It’s for that reason that a transfer shouldn’t be too hard to secure, with clubs from across the globe keen on signing Kenedy.
Potential destinations: Granada, Flamengo
A pure goalscorer who has forgotten how to do that, Michy Batshuayi has had a weird few years.
He dominated with Borussia Dortmund in early 2018, then flopped at Valencia, then did well with Crystal Palace, then did badly for Chelsea and finally topped off his decline with a shocking spell back with Palace.
If you can get the best out of him, Batshuayi can be an elite goalscorer, but teams know it’s not easy to do that.
Potential destinations: Trabzonspor, Aston Villa, West Ham