Chelsea are set to offload two unwanted stars to Saudi Arabia, though Romelu Lukaku has rejected the chance to move to the middle east despite receiving an “important proposal”, per a trusted source.
The Blues are expected to oversee something of a firesale this summer. Ridding the books of some of Chelsea’s top earners is a key directive and the burgeoning Saudi Pro League has opened many doors at Stamford Bridge that otherwise may have remained closed.
Indeed, the Evening Standard previously reported Chelsea hoped to sell Kalidou Koulibaly this summer, though were accepting of the fact his age (32 on Tuesday) and high salary would severely limit his suitors.
However, according to a series of updates from Fabrizio Romano, Chelsea are poised to do big business with the Saudi Pro League.
Firstly, N’Golo Kante is certain to leave as a free agent and has agreed a four-year deal with Al Ittihad.
The holding midfielder is a veritable Chelsea legend, though injuries have blighted his career in recent seasons.
A new contract in west London was close to being signed in March. However, yet another injury in the latter stages of the campaign stopped the new deal in its tracks.
Instead, Kante will join Al Ittihad and a medical has already been passed. Kante will pocket a base salary of €25m in each of his four years in Saudi Arabia.
Elsewhere, Kante looks set to be joined by Koulibaly and Hakim Ziyech in the middle east.
Al Hilal have offered Senegalese centre-back Koulibaly a three-year contract running until 2026. Romano reported there’s “growing confidence” Koulibaly will agree personal terms and the move is described as “advancing well and fast”.
Chelsea will also receive a sizeable transfer fee for Koulibaly, though the exact amount is yet to emerge. Romano claimed Al Hilal’s bid falls somewhere in the €25m-€30m range (approx. £21.3m-£25.6m).
That is below the £33m Chelsea paid Napoli to sign Koulibaly just one year ago. However, given his sub-par first season in England, Chelsea will no doubt be overjoyed to be recouping a huge chunk of their initial outlay.
Ziyech, meanwhile, is close to reaching an agreement on personal terms with Al Nassr. The Blues will also receive a transfer fee for the Moroccan, though the final figures haven’t yet come to light.
Lukaku snubs Saudi riches
One player who won’t be joining the Chelsea crop in Saudi Arabia is Romelu Lukaku.
Per Romano, Lukaku has “decided to continue in Europe despite important proposal received from Saudi”.
As such, attention will now turn back to how negotiations with Inter Milan fare.
The Belgian is understood to be dead set on re-joining Inter where he spent last season on loan. Inter have thus far only been willing to table a loan proposal, while Chelsea are prioritising an outright sale.