Chelsea are keen to bring in some new faces to address their defensive woes, but manager Frank Lampard will only be permitted to do so if he offloads some of the current members of the squad.
The Blues conceded a whopping 54 goals in the Premier League this season, more than any other side in the top half, and while some of that was down to tactical mistakes on Lampard’s behalf, plenty of those goals were conceded as a result of poor decisions and mistakes from the players.
As such, a new goalkeeper, centre-back and left-back are all thought to be on the wish list for Lampard, but the boss’ top priority is to push ahead with a deal for Bayer Leverkusen forward Kai Havertz, who is expected to cost close to £90m.
As noted by The Telegraph, Lampard has been given the green light to persevere with that move, but it has left him needing to clear out space in his squad before he can make any further signings.
Chelsea were forced to reject the chance to trigger their buy-back option on Nathan Aké after Manchester City had a bid accepted as they already have four senior centre-backs, although there are doubts over whether Lampard saw Aké as the man to fix his side anyway.
West Ham United’s Declan Rice and Atlético Madrid’s José Giménez are both thought to be in Lampard’s sights, but both deals are expected to be expensive and would only be approved if space in the squad was made.
Emerson is expected to be let go, while Jorginho will also be sold if the right offer arrives, but Lampard will also have to look for a buyer for one of Kurt Zouma, Antonio Rüdiger or Andreas Christensen if he wants to add another fresh face.
Some extra funds will be freed up by the imminent departure of Pedro, and Willian could follow his fellow winger through the exit door as he is yet to sign a contract extension at Stamford Bridge.
When asked whether he knew what Willian’s next move was, Lampard replied: “It is his decision. I have not got that answer. I know the situation from the club’s end.
“I have a great relationship with Willian, but I actually do not know what that decision is. And if that happens over the next whatever days, as he said, then that will be good for me either way.
“Of course, I am very happy with Willian as he has been brilliant for me this season with his input and work ethic within the squad. But it is his choice and I respect his choice. He has been a great servant for Chelsea if he decides to move on. And if he does decide to move on, then Chelsea moves on as well, and we have to look forward ourselves.”
For more from ?Tom Gott, follow him on ?Twitter!