Amid all the confusion around Chelsea right now, a handful of players may be keeping an eye on the Stamford Bridge exit door to see if they can find a way out of an unprecedented situation.
The club cannot sell or buy players, but luckily years of stockpiling talent means a batch of loan stars are in line to return to Chelsea for next season if there is no change of ownership.
Clarity is thin on the ground right now, but here are five players Chelsea are facing losing.
Key centre-back Rudiger already had his future in doubt, with the Germany international appearing to be unwilling to extend a deal that expires at the end of the current campaign.
Rudiger was in a strong position before Chelsea’s crisis but the defender will now be able to sit tight and await offers, which are likely to come from various European elite teams.
Manchester United and Newcastle United are both credited with an interest in the 29-year-old, who is widely regarded as one of the world’s best in his position.
Rudiger’s ability to carry the ball from deep areas has been crucial for Chelsea since he joined the club from Roma in 2017, but it seems certain he is now in his final season at the Bridge.
With David Alaba earning around £400,000 a week after joining Real Madrid as a free agent last year, that is the ballpark figure teams hoping to persuade Rudiger to sign will be looking at.
Chelsea’s captain Azpilicueta has been at the club since 2012, but a decade at the Bridge could be drawing to an end as, like Rudiger, his contract has only a few months left to run.
Azpilicueta is a transfer target for Barcelona, who want the experienced defender to follow the likes of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in joining Xavi’s rebuilding project at Camp Nou.
Xavi knows Azpilicueta well as they were team-mates back at the World Cup in 2014 when Spain, the defending champions at that tournament, went out in the group stages.
However, reports from Spain have indicated there is a clause in Azpilicueta’s contract that means an extension of a year will be triggered if he features in a certain number of games.
That would be a boost for Chelsea and Azpilicueta, an iconic figure of the Roman Abramovich era, appears unlikely to kick up a fuss to try and force a move away if that is the case.
Chelsea have three first-team defenders out of contract this summer with Christensen joining Rudiger and Azpilicueta as potentially being able to walk away on a free transfer in 2022.
Denmark defender Christensen has not always been a regular starter since he made his debut for the club in 2014, but he has made 16 Premier League appearances so far this term.
Thomas Tuchel has urged Christensen to stay at Stamford Bridge, saying recently that the 25-year-old has the potential to be “a huge Chelsea player for the next years”.
But with Chelsea currently unable to hand out new deals, Christensen’s future is in his own hands and Barcelona are among the teams reportedly keen on doing a deal for the defender.
Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich are also said to be interested in Christensen too.
English midfielder Simons is highly rated at Chelsea, with the 19-year-old having made his first start for the club in the EFL Cup quarter-final against Brentford just before Christmas.
Simons, who was born in West London and was on Brentford’s books before joining Chelsea in 2016, has featured for England at various youth levels, including the Under-17s team.
Even before sanctions were placed on Abramovich, Simons was the subject of strong transfer speculation with Brighton, Southampton, Norwich and Watford all reportedly interested.
Few Blues fans expected Chelsea to pursue a permanent deal for Saul, who has only started four Premier League games this term and appears not to be trusted by Tuchel.
The midfielder’s loan from Atletico Madrid contains the option for Chelsea to complete a transfer for the Spain international, though, with a fee of around £30 million expected to get a deal done.
It is unclear whether or not the restrictions placed on Chelsea regarding transfers applies to Saul, which could place the 27-year-old in an unusual position come the summer.
Were Chelsea to get the green light to sign Saul, it might make good business sense for the club to do so if other transfers are not able to be completed due to the current sanctions.
Saul, however, might prefer to return to Atletico and try to force his way back into their team.