Chelsea FC is in danger of losing some of their most important players on free transfers this summer, especially after the announcement that owner Roman Abramovich has put the club up for sale. The Russian has been subjected to sanctions by the UK government as part of the efforts to support Ukraine against the ongoing Russian invasion.

Captain Cesar Azpilicueta, Andreas Christensen and Antonio Rudiger all have contracts that are set to expire at the end of the current season, and the club had been hoping to lock them down to new deals. However, in light of the recent developments, they might opt to leave on a free transfer in order to escape the instability that might soon befall the Blues.

Roman Abramovich made the decision to sell the club after he was banned from entering the UK and getting all of his assets in the country frozen by the government. He initially tried to find a smoother solution by handing control over to the club's charitable foundation, but that plan fell through after trustees raised questions about the legalities of the move.

Now, the club is up for sale for approximately £3 billion. The issue has put contract extension talks with the three players on hold. Whoever ends up buying the club will then have to make a decision on how much money is available to be spent on these new deals among other expenditures moving forward.

The post-Abramovich era will likely be very different, with someone else holding the purse strings.

Spanish side FC Barcelona has been linked with both Azpilicueta and Christensen in the past months, as they continue to search for free transfer deals in the market. Even with Barcelona's financial troubles, the players will at least be coming in knowing the exact situation at the club. Chelsea, meanwhile, is up for a number of uncertainties.

La Liga leaders Real Madrid also have an eye out for Rudiger, with the move now more likely to push through. Manager Thomas Tuchel has expressed his commitment to the club, but it remains to be seen if the players will stay together to help the defending Champions League winners with the transition.

Roman Abramovic
Chelsea's Russian owner Roman Abramovich is set to sell the Premier League club Photo: AFP / Ben STANSALL