Chelsea manager Roberto Di Matteo is reportedly looking to offload fringe players in order to make room for new signings. The first of the players to be shown the door could be 32 year old French winger Florent Malouda, The Sun reports.
The Frenchman was earlier linked with a move to Brazilian club Santos but the player's wage demands were found to be unacceptable and the deal fell through. Since then Malouda has rejoined the Blues' squad on their tour of America. Nevertheless, the Frenchman is expected to leave Stamford Bridge before the start of the season.
"Florent is back with us now and I will have a talk with him this week," Sky Sports quoted Di Matteo as saying.
The winger has a year to run on his £70,000 per week contract at Stamford Bridge and while he would be content to leave the club as a free agent next season, it is understood the club are looking to cash in now; a fee of £5mn has been spoken about.
Meanwhile, apart from Malouda, Di Matteo may have also identified Israeli midfielder Yossi Benayoun and French winger Gael Kakuta (returning from loan spells at Arsenal and Dijon, respectively) as potential deadweight. A few other youngsters, including Belgians Romelu Lukaku (an earlier IBTimes UK report linked Lukaku with a move to Fulham) and Kevin De Bruyne and youth team product Josh McEachran will probably be sent on loan.
Di Matteo has stated he will decide on the future of his players after pre-season tours.
"We cannot name more than 25 players in the squad so we will have to make some decisions. Pre-season gives me a great opportunity to look at the new players and see how they develop. The final decision on who will go and who will stay will be made at the beginning of August. At the moment it is very interesting to see these new players, interesting to see these players develop and grow," said Di Matteo, according to a Daily Mail report.