Premier League • England

Chelsea confirm Andreas Christensen exit as Fabrizio Romano provides update on next move

Chelsea star Andreas Christensen

Chelsea have confirmed Andreas Christensen will leave the club on a free transfer this summer as part of their released list.

Chelsea were hoping to tie Christensen down to a new contract when he entered the final six months of his current deal. But UK Government sanctions on previous owner Roman Abramovich meant they couldn’t begin renewal talks.

The Blues probably should have had his future sorted before then, but this was essentially the final nail in the coffin for a Chelsea stay.

Barcelona soon made their interest known and Christensen saw the potential for a free transfer to the Nou Camp.

It is a perfect move for Barcelona as the centre-back won’t cost any transfer fee, with his contract expiring on July 1.

Back in April, a former Barca chief spoke about the club’s pursuit of Christensen, which began three years ago.

And it now looks set to go through at the start of next month. Transfer specialist Fabrizio Romano states the star has already signed his contract with Barca.

He will be announced as one of their new signings in the coming days or weeks. The Blaugrana are also poised to announce the capture of Franck Kessie from AC Milan – also on a free.

Andreas Christensen poised for La Liga move

When revealing their released list, Chelsea posted a lengthy tribute to Christensen and his achievements while at the club.

A statement read: ‘Andreas Christensen’s Chelsea contract expires this summer, bringing to an end his 10 years as a Blue, during which he graduated from our Academy and subsequently secured a regular place in our senior squad, playing 161 games.

‘He would experience success in the FA Cup, Europa League, UEFA Super Cup, FIFA Club World Cup and, most memorably, the Champions League. He came off the bench in the first half of the final in Porto last year and was crucial to our defensive efforts as we overcame Manchester City.’

The club added: ‘Chelsea Football Club thanks Andreas for his contribution to our success in the last decade and wishes him well in his future career.’

Christensen isn’t the only first-team regular who will leave next month. Antonio Rudiger will play against him in Spain after joining Real Madrid.

Chelsea’s released list also announces the exits of Danny Drinkwater, Charly Musonda and Jake Clarke-Salter. The latter, a 24-year-old centre-back, is a target for Sheffield United.

Christensen’s exit has been expected for many months. Chelsea couldn’t do much about the sanctions, although they certainly shouldn’t have left the contract talks so late.

Barca will now benefit from the transfer error. They are picking up a top-class defender for no fee – transfermarkt claim his value to be £31.5million.

The Blues’ new owners will be hoping to prevent sagas like this in the future. The side will have lost a lot of money with Christensen and Rudiger going for nothing.

Plus, they will have to spend a big amount to replace the pair with stars such as Jules Kounde or Matthijs de Ligt.

Meanwhile, Thiago Silva is reportedly helping Chelsea in their pursuit of a Paris Saint-Germain player.