Premier League • England

Chelsea clause can see £18m transfer gamble rectified to avoid Liverpool, Man City disasters

Crystal Palace pair Marc Guehi and Conor Gallagher

Chelsea could solve their looming centre-back issues by re-signing Marc Guehi after a surprise clause in the Crystal Palace star’s contract surfaced.

The Blues are currently unable to sign their players to new contracts until the club’s takeover has been completed. While that is expected to conclude before the summer window opens, it has left Chelsea sweating on the futures of three defensive stars.

All three of Andreas Christensen, Antonio Rudiger and Cesar Azpilicueta are out of contract in the summer.

Christensen looks odds on to be joining Barcelona. Azpilicueta could yet join him at the Camp Nou. Though it’s believed Chelsea have the option to extend his deal by a further 12 months when sanctions are lifted.

Rudiger, meanwhile, would arguably be the biggest loss given the outstanding form he has produced this year. The German has drawn links with Manchester United, PSG and Real Madrid, among others.

Chelsea may have to dip into the market to offset one – or more – of those potential losses. Reigniting their pursuit of Jules Kounde could be one option, albeit an expensive one.

Instead, Chelsea could seek to rectify a transfer gamble and re-sign new England international Marc Guehi.

Guehi contract clause explained

That’s according to the Sun’s Tom Barclay who told GiveMeSport: “I don’t think they do have a buyback clause.

“My understanding is they have a clause, which kicks in next summer. If another club makes a bid and it gets accepted then they have the right to match that bid and have it accepted.

“His story at Chelsea might not definitely be over. But it’s not as simple as Tino Livramento, for example, where if they just offer close to £38million, they can get him back.”

In other words, Chelsea have a right of first refusal. Should another club bid for the Eagles ace this summer, Chelsea must be notified and would have the opportunity to match the bid before any sale can be concluded.

Guehi was sold to Crystal Palace for around £18m last summer. He has been a near ever-present under Patrick Vieira and has formed a formidable partnership with Joachim Andersen.

His superb displays – which have helped Palace reach the FA Cup semi-finals – were rewarded with his maiden England cap against Switzerland on Saturday. Guehi earned an eight in our player ratings, but it was another Chelsea star who stole the show.

Chelsea have a recent history of being stung by former players who excelled at rival clubs. Kevin De Bruyne was sold to the Bundesliga before returning to England with Manchester City.

Mohamed Salah, meanwhile, left Stamford Bridge on a permanent deal in 2016 when joining Roma. He returned to England one year later with Liverpool and the rest is history.

It may be a stretch to say Guehi could punish Chelsea in the way De Bruyne and Salah have if bought by an elite rival.

However, this season has shown Guehi has all the hallmarks of developing into one of the Premier League’s finest defenders.