Cesar Azpilicueta, Antonio Rudiger and Thiago Silva all helped form the defence that led Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea to a Champions League title in 2021.
The trio have become heroes in west London and have remained integral to the side as a first Premier League title since 2017 is chased down this term.
Chelsea currently sit top of the table as we head into the third international break of the season, three points clear of Manchester City as West Ham and Liverpool also fight to keep within touching distance.
The Blues also sit near the top of the Premier League wage table, according to a fresh release by Spotrac. Only Manchester United boast a bigger annual wage bill than Thomas Tuchel’s side, with a reported £162million a year being splashed on player salaries. United’s is a whopping £226.6m.
The January transfer window is just around the corner and could bring with it the chance to steal an advantage on the competition – but for Chelsea, it also shines a light on a different concern.
As the new year rolls around, those players whose contracts are set to expire in the summer of 2022 will be free to negotiate pre-contract agreements with rival clubs.
It is a situation no fewer than 11 Chelsea players find themselves in, including the beloved, aforementioned trio.
The future of Rudiger has been the hottest topic out of the three, with Real Madrid reported to be talking to the German about a potential agreement ahead of the summer.
But if all those players were to leave, Chelsea would be set to receive a huge windfall ahead of next season’s summer transfer window.
Were club captain Azpilicueta to depart at the end of the season for free, it would save £7.8m in wages while Rudiger and Silva departing would add an extra £5.2m and £5.46m to the club’s bank account respectively, according to the report.
Andreas Christensen is another fan favourite who could be set for a departure in the summer if a new deal cannot be agreed for his services. The Denmark international currently earns £4.16m a year.
A number of fringe players are set to see their contracts run out in the summer too including Danny Drinkwater, who still earns a staggering £6.24m per year, claims Sportrac, despite not playing a competitive match for the club since August 2018.
The former Leicester man departing along with Baba Rahman, Emerson Palmeiri, Lewis Baker, Matt Miazga, Charlie Musonda and Jake Clarke-Salter would save the Blues £16.9m each year alone.
Were each player to depart when their current deal expired, Chelsea would stand to save a total £39.4m a year in wages.
Of course, other questions would be raised such as who would replace these players? Particularly Azpilicueta, Silva, Rudiger and Christensen, and would their replacements ultimately end up costing them more than the original stars?
These are no doubts the conundrums giving directors such as Marina Granovskaia an enormous headache ahead of the January window and with negotiations ongoing.
Premier League wages table
1. Manchester United – £226.6m
2. Chelsea – £162.6m
3. Manchester City – £143.1m
4. Liverpool – £139.1m
5. Arsenal – £99.7m
6. Tottenham – £78.7m
7. Everton – £70.8m
8. West Ham United – £59.6m
9. Leicester City – £54.5m
10. Crystal Palace – £51.7m
11. Aston Villa – £51.6m
12. Newcastle United – £46.8m
13. Wolverhampton Wanderers – £45.2m
14. Southampton – £43.7m
15. Brighton & Hove Albion – £37.1m
16. Burnley – £33.8m
17. Watford – £30m
18. Norwich City – £24.2m
19. Leeds United – £17.9m
20. Brentford – £12.7m
Chelsea wages of players out of contract in 2022
Charlie Musonda (£0.55m)
All figures courtesy of Sportrac
Source by Football London