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The board of Chelsea Football Club would like to update our fans, our staff, our community and our other stakeholders of certain actions the club is taking during the coronavirus crisis.


The board, guided by club owner Roman Abramovich, has agreed on a number of initiatives aimed at ensuring the financial well-being of our staff as well as supporting our fans and the wider community.


The club can confirm we will not be taking advantage of the Government’s current Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme which runs to 30 June. We are not planning any general redundancies or furloughs for our full-time staff who are continuing to be paid 100 per cent of their current wages.

Casual workers and match day staff employed by the club are being compensated by us through 30 June as if matches had been played and we had been operating as normal.

We are continuing our current level of financial and other support to our professional women players and also to our women’s academy programmes. Our women’s team and staff have been very supportive of our charitable activities during this crisis which has been appreciated by both the club and the respective charities.


In regard to our fans, we will credit general admission season ticket holders and hospitality season ticket holders for any Premier League home matches which are not played with fans in the stadium, once the final fixtures for the 2019/20 season have been agreed. Crediting will be on a pro-rata basis.

We will also reimburse travel and accommodation costs up to £350 per ticket holder to cover non-refundable expenditure by the 3,800 supporters due to travel to Munich last month for the Champions League match. This applies whether travel was booked privately or with the club. Those affected will be contacted shortly.

Men’s Team

Representatives of the Chelsea board have recently held extensive talks with the men’s first team to discuss how they can contribute financially to the club during the coronavirus crisis. The objective of these talks has been to find a meaningful partnership around ensuring we preserve jobs for staff, compensate fans and participate in activities for good causes.

We are grateful to the team for having played their role in assisting the club with community activities as well as all the charitable causes they have been supporting in their respective home countries and through the Players Together initiative supporting the NHS. At this time, the men’s first team will not be contributing towards the club financially and instead the board have directed the team to focus their efforts on further supporting other charitable causes. As this crisis develops the club will continue to have conversations with the men’s first team regarding financial contributions to the club’s activities.




Chelsea instruct players to support charities rather than imposing pay cut during coronavirus crisis


Chelsea will not impose a pay cut on their first-team squad but have instead encouraged them to continue supporting charities during the coronavirus pandemic.

Negotiations had been taking place between Blues officials and players about a possible salary reduction of around 10 per cent.

But Chelsea released a statement on Saturday saying they have taken a different approach and encouraged their stars to focus their efforts on other causes.

A statement on the club website said: “Representatives of the Chelsea board have recently held extensive talks with the men’s first team to discuss how they can contribute financially to the club during the coronavirus crisis.

“The objective of these talks has been to find a meaningful partnership around ensuring we preserve jobs for staff, compensate fans and participate in activities for good causes.

“We are grateful to the team for having played their role in assisting the club with community activities as well as all the charitable causes they have been supporting in their respective home countries and through the Players Together initiative supporting the NHS.


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12 minutes ago, Fernando said:

Apparently we did not accept a pay cut. 

Correct me if i'm wrong, but does that even matter? I thought the entire Chelsea staff were still getting paid as well? 

The club is financially strong enough to provide for causes that fight against Covid-19 yet still being able to pay everyone in the club in full. Why should they ask their players to take a wage deduction when the club can already afford it?

The club and the players probably see it as a better use of resources for the players to donate to causes/charities of their choice vs the club taking it out and distributing it to who they want. It's the player's money after all. 

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57 minutes ago, Fernando said:

Apparently we did not accept a pay cut. 

I'm disappointed with the players. 

IF they follow the clubs instructions/wishes and donate to charities, then I am fine with this.

BUT they must do that or I will be fucking pissed. Pay it forward.

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1 hour ago, Fernando said:

Apparently we did not accept a pay cut. 

I'm disappointed with the players. 



Representatives of the Chelsea board have recently held extensive talks with the men’s first team to discuss how they can contribute financially to the club during the coronavirus crisis. The objective of these talks has been to find a meaningful partnership around ensuring we preserve jobs for staff, compensate fans and participate in activities for good causes.

We are grateful to the team for having played their role in assisting the club with community activities as well as all the charitable causes they have been supporting in their respective home countries and through the Players Together initiative supporting the NHS. At this time, the men’s first team will not be contributing towards the club financially and instead the board have directed the team to focus their efforts on further supporting other charitable causes. As this crisis develops the club will continue to have conversations with the men’s first team regarding financial contributions to the club’s activities.

Also, I don't get why are people being so judgmental over this pay cut issue...

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6 minutes ago, Jason said:


Also, I don't get why are people being so judgmental over this pay cut issue...

Because clubs from Italy, France, Spain are doing it. Roma players without salary for 4 months.

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4 minutes ago, NikkiCFC said:

Because clubs from Italy, France, Spain are doing it. Roma players without salary for 4 months.

So you're unhappy simply because clubs in those countries are doing it? :carlo:  There are also others like in England aren't doing it. Different clubs react differently to the crisis depending on their financial situation. The fact that the club aren't furloughing staffs, are still playing staff 100% of their wages, are offering to help NHS at no cost etc suggests we aren't in a desperate financial situation. And it's not like the players aren't using their money for good cause. A number of them, based on public knowledge, are already helping charities. 

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1 hour ago, Laylabelle said:

I'd be disappointed if it affected outwards. Say players getting 100% but that then meant staff wages were effected but from sounds not the case. If the club can afford to do both this way why not. 

Because it's very easy for people to be armchair critics. I don't understand why players not taking a pay cut or little pay cut is seen like some sort of crime here, especially in our case. If the club were in the poor or dodgy financial state and the players don't want to take a pay cut, then by all means, have a go at them. But we aren't and we aren't the only club out there that their players haven't taken a pay cut. 

Anyway, it seems like negotiations between the club and players are still ongoing...


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In a post-Hazard era, who can possibly stand out as Chelsea Player of the Year?



The first season of the post-Eden Hazard era at Chelsea has yielded no new clear talisman. In fact, you could argue that Frank Lampard’s most impressive achievement since taking over is how effectively he has divided the burden of scoring and goal creation that was disproportionately borne by the Belgian under Maurizio Sarri, even if a lack of ruthlessness has undermined his team at times.

That he has done it with youth is all the more commendable. Three of Chelsea’s top four goalscorers in the Premier League this season are aged 22 or younger.

Tammy Abraham is perhaps the best story of the season, blossoming from a prolific Championship scorer into a charismatic Premier League frontman with enough flashes of an all-round skill set to suggest he is capable of leading the line at Stamford Bridge for the next decade. His swaggering hat-trick in a 5-2 win over Wolves at Molineux in September — with Fikayo Tomori and Mason Mount also finding the net — felt like the moment Lampard’s youth movement came of age.

Mount has become arguably the symbol of Lampard’s team, playing the third-most minutes across all competitions (2,866) when compared to his fellow Chelsea outfielders, with only captain Cesar Azpilicueta (3,333) and Jorginho (2,965) ahead of him. And he has done so through the pain of two ankle injuries. His decision-making is far from flawless — not an unusual problem for a young player — but he consistently sets the tone with his relentless work rate, with and without the ball.

Christian Pulisic produced the most spectacular run of form of any Chelsea player from late October to the end of November, following up a match-winning assist against Ajax in Amsterdam with six goals in seven matches across three competitions. His perfect hat-trick against Burnley at Turf Moor was emphatic proof that Lampard is right to consider the American integral to his future plans. The fact he has barely kicked a ball in 2020 is our loss as well as his.

At the other end of the pitch, Tomori played a key role in Chelsea’s seven-match winning streak alongside Kurt Zouma in the autumn while Reece James returned from an ankle injury to justify the excitement sparked by last year’s phenomenal loan at Wigan and emerge as a formidable attacking weapon from right-back.

When you add Callum Hudson-Odoi, Andreas Christensen, Billy Gilmour and a fit-again Ruben Loftus-Cheek to the mix, Lampard can remould this squad around a homegrown core that should be the envy of elite clubs all over Europe — with more to come from the academy and the bank of loanees.

Abraham and Mount have ensured an unprecedented amount of overlap in Chelsea’s Player of the Year and Young Player of the Year debates, particularly as some of the older heads have floundered.

Kepa Arrizabalaga lost Lampard’s confidence in the midst of the worst slump of his career. After four years of being a Premier League machine, N’Golo Kante’s body has failed him. Antonio Rudiger has struggled to rediscover his best level after his own lingering injury problems. Marcos Alonso continues to be the Superman of wing-backs and the Clark Kent of full-backs.

But other senior stars have led the way. Azpilicueta’s durability is showing no cracks at the age of 30 and his performances remain generally solid, regardless of whether he is deployed at right-back, left-back or centre-back. His professionalism and on-pitch leadership have helped Chelsea’s bright youngsters and his four goals across all competitions constitute the most prolific scoring season of his career. Two of them, against Ajax and Lille at Stamford Bridge, were vital.

Willian is now the oldest regular Chelsea starter, though there has been nothing on the pitch to highlight that fact. His speed and work rate are undiminished, to the extent that Lampard held up the Brazilian’s brilliant all-round display against Southampton in October as the benchmark for his other wingers. His match-winning performance away at Tottenham in December was the best of his Chelsea career, and one of the most thrilling seen anywhere in the Premier League this season.

Goals and assists have always been an underwhelming measure of Willian’s impact and 2019-20 is no exception (five goals and five assists in 28 Premier League appearances). But it is worth noting that his 3.3 passes that lead to a shot attempt per 90 minutes this season ranks sixth-best in the entire division among regular starters.

When reviewing a season in which Chelsea all too frequently struggled to create while finding a way to concede, however, it feels wrong to bestow the highest praise on any one attacker or defender. Lampard, like Sarri before him, has built this team around a dominant passing midfield, and the most consistent performers in the squad can be found in the middle of the pitch.

Jorginho has been transformed under Lampard from a Stamford Bridge pariah into a crowd favourite without changing all that much about his game. He is still a passing metronome at the base of midfield, though he attempts fewer passes per game this season (71.6) than last (84.3) and slightly more of them go long (3.7 per game, up from 2.5 in 2018-19). He still takes arguably the most quirky effective penalties in world football.

Chelsea’s defenders still know that they can trust Jorginho with the ball under pressure and he still gives his team a level of control and calm that few other midfielders can. Out of possession, his defensive contribution is a little underrated, though his glaring lack of athleticism ensures that any midfield geared around him will always have a tantalisingly obvious weakness. He has been key to many of this season’s best performances, and also some of the worst.

Lampard’s most frequently outstanding performer has been the man next to Jorginho. When a £40 million agreement was struck with Real Madrid to make Mateo Kovacic the lone Chelsea signing of a summer defined by a FIFA-imposed transfer ban, the reaction of most supporters ranged from an indifferent shrug of the shoulders to mild consternation.

Kovacic’s fit was more in question than his talent but he quickly proved his worth. Largely in the absence of Kante he has refined his formidable understanding with Jorginho – one which provided the foundation for Chelsea’s best run of form this season, the seven-match winning streak from late September to the end of October that put Lampard’s team in the driving seat in the race for fourth.

Both men take particular delight in receiving the ball under extreme pressure and working together to play their way out of trouble. Nowhere was this mutual passion more evident than in Amsterdam, where Jorginho completed 93.5 per cent of his 46 passes and Kovacic completed 92.6 per cent of his 54 amid a swarm of Ajax bodies. An historic win was built on their unshakeable composure.

Kovacic has largely matched Jorginho’s passing prowess deep in Chelsea’s midfield this season but the Croatian also has another dimension to his game: he is the best ball-carrying central midfielder anywhere in world football and Lampard has unleashed his rare gift to the benefit of the team.

He is averaging 4.7 attempted dribbles per 90 minutes in the Premier League this season with a 79.3 per cent success rate, up from 3.2 per 90 minutes with a 67.7 per cent success rate in 2018-19. He carries the ball an average of 449.5 yards per 90 minutes, the most in the Chelsea squad, and 227.9 yards towards the opposition goal, second only to Willian among regular starters.

No other central midfielder in Europe comes close to combining the volume and efficiency of Kovacic’s dribbling. A look across the Premier League reveals his numbers are more comparable with wingers or No 10s like Adama Traore (457.1 yards per 90 minutes), Felipe Anderson (455.2 yards per 90 minutes) or Jack Grealish (453.7 yards per 90 minutes).

Direct impact on the final third remains Kovacic’s big weakness; his one goal and three assists in the Premier League this season actually represent an overperformance on his expected goals (0.90) and expected assists (1.66) while his 1.33 key passes per 90 minutes compare unfavourably with Kante (1.56) and rank 13th in the current Chelsea squad.

But in football’s age of pressing, Kovacic’s uncanny ability to slalom his way through the middle of the pitch, taking out several opponents as he turns defence into attack, is hugely valuable. It was telling that as Chelsea suffered their heaviest-ever home European defeat against Bayern Munich in February, he was the only player in blue who frequently threatened to turn the tide with eight completed dribbles of nine attempted.

Kovacic earned high praise from a somber Lampard after that match as he was the only Chelsea player who had shown in the Champions League knockout stage that he could grace any team in the world. Only 25, he should be a dynamic presence in the middle of the Stamford Bridge pitch for years to come, and he is a more than worthy Player of the Year.

This week, The Athletic’s writers will be choosing their Player of the Year for their club and writing a piece explaining their pick.

We are also hosting an awards night on our app and social media on Sunday, April 26, to decide the awards for the season so far. Read more here.

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The Mail don't seem to be able to get their story straight..one minute it's no wage cut all going to charity.. the next they've refused how dare they blahhh and now this one which is what was said originally!

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2 hours ago, Laylabelle said:

The Mail don't seem to be able to get their story straight..one minute it's no wage cut all going to charity.. the next they've refused how dare they blahhh and now this one which is what was said originally!

its the Daily Hail, what do you expect, lolol

Heil Hitler GIFs | TenorSieg Heil - GIF on Imgur

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Crazy amount of dregs to liquidate ASAP

3    Spain    DF    Marcos Alonso
33    Italy    DF    Emerson Palmieri
Netherlands    MF    Marco van Ginkel
England    GK    Jamal Blackman (to Bristol Rovers until 31 May 2020)
England    DF    Josh Grant (to Plymouth Argyle until 31 May 2020)
United States    DF    Matt Miazga (to Reading until 31 May 2020)
England    DF    Richard Nartey (to Burton Albion until 31 May 2020)
Ghana    DF    Baba Rahman (to Mallorca until 30 June 2020)
Italy    DF    Davide Zappacosta (to Roma until 30 June 2020)
France    MF    Tiémoué Bakayoko (to Monaco until 30 June 2020)
England    MF    Danny Drinkwater (to Aston Villa until 30 June 2020)
Brazil    MF    Kenedy (to Getafe until 30 June 2020)
Nigeria    MF    Victor Moses (to Inter Milan until 30 June 2020)
Belgium    MF    Charly Musonda (to Vitesse until 30 June 2020)
Brazil    MF    Nathan (to Atlético Mineiro until 30 June 2020)
Croatia    MF    Mario Pašalić (to Atalanta until 30 June 2020) (He is NOT dregs, and Atalanta will use his £13m buy clause and probably sell him for double that if they need the cash)
Brazil    MF    Lucas Piazon (to Rio Ave until 30 June 2020)
England    FW    Izzy Brown (to Luton Town until 31 May 2020)

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Neymar, Van Dijk, Ozil and Ruddy: Inside stories of Chelsea’s failed signings



Thanks to Roman Abramovich’s arrival in 2003, few Premier League clubs have generated more transfer headlines than Chelsea. From the moment the Russian multi-billionaire took over and David Dein, Arsenal vice-chairman at the time, moaned how “Abramovich has parked his Russian tanks on our lawn and is firing £50 notes at us”, Chelsea have been a hive of activity.

Some of the finest players in the division’s history have been purchased in that time, from Claude Makelele and Didier Drogba to Eden Hazard and Arjen Robben. But sometimes, even the rich fail to get what they want. The Abramovich era is littered with names of players who were pursued, but didn’t join Chelsea’s high-rollers.

Two of the most infamous to reject their advances were England duo Steven Gerrard and Wayne Rooney, but this is a piece highlighting some of the others and explaining why the switches never materialised…


It seemed like the transfer equivalent of an own goal in the last minute. Chelsea’s bid to acquire Robinho from Real Madrid in 2008 was nearing completion only for the deal to collapse at the 11th hour. He ended up joining Manchester City instead.

The common consensus back then, and since, has been that the move fell through because Chelsea upset Real Madrid by advertising official shirts with Robinho’s name on their website before the transfer had been finalised. But the Spanish club’s president at the time, Ramon Calderon, has told The Athletic a different version of events. He says, “Robinho and his agent Wagner Ribeiro were telling me all summer to let him leave, but they didn’t talk to me about any specific club.

“They told me that there was an offer on the table, but neither I nor the club received any offer from Chelsea. Wagner said that I had to let the boy leave, because Cristiano Ronaldo was arriving (the following year) and he was going to be the star of the team. I always told him, ‘If there’s an offer, I will consider it’.

“But we were waiting for an offer of €40 million (current value £34.9 million). Was the shirt issue the problem with Chelsea? No. I think this is what happened: when Wagner told Chelsea that we were asking for €40 million, they didn’t pursue it. There was no formal offer from Chelsea.

“Peter Kenyon, Chelsea’s chief executive, never called me. He is a good friend of mine and he had my number. Peter and I negotiated the Robben transfer (from Chelsea to Real Madrid) together the summer before, so he would have phoned if he had been interested in Robinho.

“An actual offer — a phone call with a concrete bid — didn’t come until 8pm on August 31. I was in my office, and was told that Manchester City would call me. That was what happened. There wasn’t much time, but it was a very short conversation: they made me an offer and we reached an agreement. The money arrived the next day.”

City ended up paying £32.5 million for Robinho. To beat Abramovich to a big name was regarded as a real statement of intent by their new owners. However, he scored just 16 times in 17 months before being loaned to Santos and then sold to AC Milan in summer 2010.

As for Riberio, he maintains all these years later that Chelsea, courtesy of their website gaffe, were the ones responsible for the move to west London falling through.

“Kenyon came to Madrid to meet us,” he reveals to The Athletic. “We had dinner in De Maria restaurant. When we left, the street was full of journalists and cameramen. The next morning, we were on the covers of Marca and AS, with Robinho being linked to Chelsea.

“The idea of going to Chelsea appealed to Robinho. (Former Brazil coach) Luiz Felipe Scolari was the coach for one thing and financially, it was the best offer. But Real Madrid saw that they were selling Robinho shirts on the Chelsea website.

“Calderon and (Real director) Jose Angel Sanchez told the press that it was an outrage. For that reason, they would not let me give them Chelsea’s offer. City were building a great team at the time and Robinho didn’t do badly. But they weren’t as good as Chelsea, Manchester United, Liverpool and Arsenal.”

Andrea Pirlo

One of Italy’s finest midfielders would have been part of Chelsea’s revolution had Carlo Ancelotti got his way.

As part of his own talks to leave AC Milan for Chelsea in summer 2009, Ancelotti urged them to agree a deal for Pirlo with his soon-to-be former club. He wanted to bring a key component from the team he had built at the San Siro with him to help introduce his style of play quickly at Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea had an offer of £7 million plus striker Claudio Pizarro rejected, but thought they had got their man when meeting Milan’s £20 million asking price. Pirlo got to the stage of talking personal terms, only for the whole thing to be called off. After losing Ancelotti to Chelsea and Kaka to Real Madrid in the same window, Milan were under pressure from their fans not to let another key man leave. The Italian club’s president, Silvio Berlusconi, delivered the news in person.

“Milan wouldn’t let me go,” Pirlo told the Daily Mail in 2012. “I have a very strong connection with Ancelotti, so I was in touch with him when he went to Chelsea. I had already started negotiating with the people at Chelsea but then finally Milan didn’t let me go. That’s why I stayed.

“Certainly it would have been a different experience that I’d have liked, especially when I was 30 years old. So why not? But unfortunately it didn’t happen.”


Former technical director Michael Emenalo will never be universally fondly remembered by Chelsea fans, but surely it would have been different if he had succeeded with the club’s final attempt to sign Neymar from Santos in 2013.

Chelsea first pursued Neymar vigorously in 2010, and still had high hopes of beating Barcelona to his signature when they dispatched Emenalo to Brazil that summer.

Emenalo prepared a passionate speech for the player and his father. In it, he called on NBA star Michael Jordan’s massive impact on the Chicago Bulls as an example of what Neymar could bring to Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea were already a successful club by this stage, with a Champions League, a Europa League, three Premier League titles and six domestic cups won during the Abramovich era. However, Emenalo suggested Neymar could make Chelsea a household name all around the globe, just as Jordan did for the Bulls.

It was made clear that manager Jose Mourinho was returning for a second spell in charge and that the Portuguese, as well as Chelsea officials, wanted Neymar. Emenalo told Neymar: “You are going to lead Chelsea to the top.”

Footballer lawyer Marcos Motta, who was employed by Santos at the time, revealed what happened next in a 2017 book called Football’s Secret Trade: How The Player Transfer Market Was Infiltrated.

He admitted it was of the greatest proposals he had ever heard, adding: “It was the very first time that I saw Neymar’s father listen to someone for more than 30 minutes without looking at his mobile.”

Unfortunately for Chelsea, Neymar’s dream by this stage was to secure a move to the Nou Camp, so Emenalo’s efforts were in vain. What the English side and Santos didn’t know was Barcelona had agreed a package worth £35 million, of which £8.7 million was paid up front, to the player in 2011 with a view to him joining them at a later date. It would subsequently lead to a big tax-avoidance investigation into Barcelona.

Chelsea came a lot closer a year before that, in 2010, when Neymar was just 18. A meeting took place at a Hilton Hotel in New York between Santos president Luis Alvaro de Oliveira Ribeiro (commonly known as LAOR), Neymar’s father, Neymar’s agent Wagner Ribeiro and super-agent Pini Zahavi, who was representing Chelsea.

After initially having no interest in a move to Chelsea, Neymar Sr did a U-turn. “His dad changed his mind in the middle of this meeting and wanted me to go along with him,” LAOR said. “They were offering a huge amount of money, as well as a plan for his career, a brand-new car, luxury housing and everything else. I said, ‘No, no, no’.”

Santos prepared a counter-offer, although that didn’t stop Chelsea chairman Bruce Buck travelling to Brazil in August 2010 intent on concluding negotiations over a £30.5 million transfer and a contract that would pay Neymar £90,000 a week.

But as well as offering a number of perks on top of an increased salary and a 70 per cent cut of revenue made from his image rights, Santos promised a speech therapist, language classes and his own PR employee to persuade him to stay on. They even got the legendary Pele to speak to him. Neymar decided to stay put for another year. Then Barcelona came calling.

Virgil van Dijk and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain

Chelsea do not have fond memories of 2017 as far as new arrivals go. That was the year a combined £138 million was spent on Alvaro Morata, Danny Drinkwater and Tiemoue Bakayoko.

To make matters worse, it was also the year Van Dijk and Oxlade-Chamberlain ignored Chelsea’s advances and chose to join Liverpool instead.

There was a common theme in their two cases, namely that they much preferred the personality of Jurgen Klopp to his Stamford Bridge counterpart, Antonio Conte. That was quite a snub for the Italian, who had outshone the Liverpool coach by leading Chelsea to the Premier League title in his first season at the helm (2016-17). But his reputation for being a hard taskmaster in training went before him, as well as a more pragmatic style of football. His relationship with the Chelsea hierarchy was also on the wane.

It is understood Van Dijk and Oxlade-Chamberlain had questions over how long Conte would be in charge for, whereas there was no such doubt over Klopp’s future on Merseyside. Their suspicions were proved right as the former Italy midfielder left Chelsea in acrimonious circumstances in 2018 at the end of his second season.

In fairness, Chelsea were already facing a losing battle when it came to Van Dijk. On top of the desire to play for Klopp, the Dutch defender attended the 2017 Champions League final between Real Madrid and Juventus in Cardiff and was flattered by the amount of Liverpool fans urging him to join them.

When Southampton made accusations against Liverpool over tapping-up Van Dijk, Chelsea hoped their better relationship with the team from the south coast would swing things in their favour. However the player’s mind was already made up — although he had to wait until January 1, 2018, to complete a £75 million move.

Chelsea had been seen as favourites at one stage to get Oxlade-Chamberlain, but again things went awry. To add to his doubts over Conte’s longevity, he was also wary of the Italian wanting to play him on the right-hand side — a role he had been trying to get away from at Arsenal.

In contrast, he was assured Klopp would pick him centrally, so even though Chelsea were prepared to offer higher wages, the England international opted for Liverpool. The fact England team-mates Jordan Henderson and Joe Gomez had thrived under Klopp since moving there was another factor that counted against Chelsea.

David Silva 

It was during the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, a tournament his Spain side were destined to win, that Silva publicly floated the idea of a future in the Premier League and, more specifically, with a team that played in blue.

“Chelsea have established themselves as one of the best clubs in Europe over the last five years,” he said. “They might not have the history of Real Madrid or Milan, but they are creating their own history now. There is no reason why, in the future, Chelsea’s can’t be as decorated as Real.

“Chelsea probably have, along with Barcelona, the best squad in football. If any player joins Chelsea, he knows he is going to win things. It would be a pleasure to play with them. There is no doubt in my mind that Chelsea would be a great club to play for — and a club where I could fulfil my ambition of league titles and the European Cup.”

At the time, this felt like the culmination of a lengthy courtship.

Silva had ripped a glorious left-footed shot beyond a flailing Petr Cech at Stamford Bridge in April 2007 during the first leg of a Champions League quarter-final against Valencia, alerting England’s nouveaux riche to his talents. Every transfer window thereafter seemed to see the links revived. By summer 2010 — with the then 24-year-old clearly ready for a new challenge after four years at the Mestalla and Chelsea about to release Joe Cole at the end of his contract — matters appeared to be moving towards a natural conclusion.

Except, suddenly, there were other contenders on the scene. Manchester City, two years into the Abu Dhabi United ownership and upwardly mobile under the management of Roberto Mancini, boasted the financial clout and ambition to lure the Spain international to the north west. Perhaps Silva’s words in South Africa had been a final nudge towards Chelsea to make a move, a last call for them to firm up long-mooted interest.

“We’re weighing up offers from three clubs, and one of them is Chelsea,” confirmed the midfielder’s agent at the time, Julio Llorente. “If Silva doesn’t want to go to City, the transfer isn’t possible.” That almost sounded like a representative pleading for more established suitors — and Chelsea were newly crowned Premier League champions at the time — to step forward.

But with Chelsea focusing their efforts on Neymar (see above), City took advantage and paid Valencia £26 million for the playmaker to wear a lighter shade of blue. Silva has since made more than 400 appearances for them, helping the club to win four league titles and seven domestic cups in his 10 years at the club.

Eliaquim Mangala

Silva isn’t the only player Chelsea lived to regret moving to Manchester City — The Athletic went into detail last November over how they lost out on Sergio Aguero. But not every decision has come back to haunt them.

In 2014, they pulled out of the race before City signed Mangala from Porto for £42 million.

The centre-back, who spoke publicly beforehand about how he preferred a move to Chelsea, struggled to justify that price tag. He made just 79 appearances for City over five seasons before joining Valencia on a free transfer last summer. What isn’t so well known, though, is how Chelsea could have bought him a lot sooner and a lot cheaper when he was still a teenager making his mark in Belgium at Standard Liege.

Mangala was represented by Michael Becker back in 2010 and, with his help, Liege were hoping to earn a nice fee for the 19-year-old Frenchman they had converted from a striker into a defender. Becker was more famous for being the agent of Michael Ballack, who had been one of Chelsea’s most famous marquee acquisitions four years earlier.

Obviously that meant Becker had already established a good dialogue with the Stamford Bridge boardroom and he put forward Mangala’s name as someone they should look at to buy. It was considered, but didn’t get far beyond a couple of conversations. Chelsea already had their eyes on a more established defender in Benfica’s David Luiz, who joined the following January.

Mangala moved to Porto in summer 2011 for around £6 million before replacing Becker with another super-agent, Jorge Mendes.

Mesut Ozil

Ozil has been a pretty divisive — and expensive — presence since joining London rivals Arsenal, so the story of football in the capital would have taken a significantly different path had Chelsea beaten them to his signature.

The opportunity was there after Ozil had starred for Germany during their run to the World Cup semi-finals in South Africa a decade ago — the same summer when Chelsea allowed Silva (see above) to slip through their fingers.

Naturally, the then-Werder Bremen playmaker had Europe’s elite clubs making eyes at him. Ancelotti’s reigning Premier League champions were among them. Chelsea were in a good position to secure the 21-year-old’s services, thanks to club’s close working relationship with Klaus Allofs.

Bremen general manager Allofs had established a good rapport with Chelsea during negotiations to re-sign their former striker Pizarro, initially on a season’s loan in 2008 and then on a permanent basis 12 months later. He believed Chelsea might deliver the biggest transfer fee for the Bundesliga club’s most prized asset and the idea was certainly mooted to them.

Ozil’s camp, however, had other ideas.

Despite Bremen’s best efforts, negotiations between the player and Chelsea never reached a serious stage, unlike those with Arsenal and Barcelona. However, following meetings between his representatives and Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, as well as Barcelona director of football Andoni Zubizarreta, Ozil decided to join Real Madrid.

The new coach at the Bernabeu — a certain Jose Mourinho — had managed to convince the Gelsenkirchen-born attacking midfielder that the next step in his career should take him to the Spanish capital. Ozil won La Liga and the Copa del Rey with Real Madrid before moving to Arsenal in September 2013 for £42.5 million.

Luke Shaw

It is often regarded as an advantage if the player you are trying to sign supports your team, but Shaw is an example of how little sway it can hold.

Chelsea wanted to make Shaw the successor to the departing Ashley Cole in summer 2014 and were prepared to pay the Southampton left-back up to £90,000 a week to join them. That was a remarkable sum for a defender who was only turning 19 that July.

Given Shaw, who was born in Kingston, south-west London, and his family were known to be big Chelsea supporters, people in the game thought it was a matter of when, not if, he joined his idols despite strong interest from Manchester United. But much to Mourinho’s frustration, Shaw’s allegiance to Chelsea was quickly forgotten when United trumped their salary offer by offering an incredible £130,000 a week.

Chelsea broke off negotiations and bought Brazil international Filipe Luis from Atletico Madrid instead, while Shaw headed up to Old Trafford. Mourinho, not for the last time in his managerial career as it turned out, made his feelings known about the England international in the press.

“If we pay to a 19-year-old boy what we were being asked for, to sign Luke Shaw, we are dead,” he said. “We would have killed our stability with Financial Fair Play and killed the stability in our dressing room. Because when you pay that much to a 19-year-old kid – a good player, fantastic player – but when you pay that amount of money, the next day, we would have had players knocking on our door.

“They would have been saying, ‘How is it possible I play 200 games for this club, won this and that, yet a 19-year-old comes here and gets more money than I get?’ It would’ve killed immediately our balance and we couldn’t allow that.”

Mourinho would go on to manage Shaw when he became United manager four years ago and the pair endured a difficult relationship. Since Mourinho was sacked in December 2018 and replaced by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Shaw’s form has improved markedly.

John Ruddy

And finally, it’s worth pointing out how less-fashionable names have rejected Chelsea, too. Step forward John Ruddy.

In the summer of 2013, the Londoners were seeking a back-up goalkeeper to Petr Cech who could be classed as “homegrown” for UEFA competition. Winning the previous season’s Europa League final had them back competing in the Champions League and top of their list of goalkeeper targets was Norwich City’s No 1.

Ruddy had been handed his first England cap the previous August and was hoping to do enough in the coming season to make Roy Hodgson’s World Cup squad in Brazil. Chelsea, impressed by his presence as well as his “homegrown” status, initially offered a deal worth £5 million — £3 million up front and a further £2 million with add-ons – which was rejected. Unperturbed, and clearly working on the assumption the player would be keen to come, they upped it to something worth closer to £6 million.

The problem was the 26-year-old, on reflection, was not so keen on the move. Ruddy had experience of life at bigger clubs from earlier in his career. He had joined Everton from fourth-tier Cambridge United in 2005, but only made a single league appearance for them over the next five years.

There were loans aplenty — Walsall, Rushden & Diamonds, Chester City, Stockport County (twice), Wrexham, Bristol City, Crewe Alexandra and Motherwell — before the £250,000 move to Norwich in 2010 that gave him the platform to forge a successful career. It was the memory of life as a squad member at Goodison Park that dissuaded Ruddy from joining Chelsea.

“I’d spent five years at Everton being shipped out on loan left, right and centre. I didn’t want to go back to doing that,” said Ruddy, now second-choice at Wolverhampton Wanderers. “I was playing week in, week out at Norwich. I was 26 and involved in the England squad. There was a possibility of going to the World Cup at the end of the season. I’d worked hard to get into the position of being first choice, and I didn’t want to give that up.”

The deal duly died a death once it was clear his priorities lay elsewhere, for very legitimate reasons, and Chelsea signed Mark Schwarzer on a free transfer from neighbours Fulham instead. The only problem for Ruddy was what happened next.

“That season ended with relegation, and I didn’t make the World Cup squad,” he said.

At least he can smile about it now.

— Additional reporting by Raphael Honigstein, James Pearce and James Horncastle

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