Scottish giant Rangers have announced the signing of a Chelsea star, while Fabrizio Romano has confirmed two further players Mauricio Pochettino will axe.
Among Pochettino’s first tasks as the new Chelsea boss is determining who should be removed from the club’s supersized squad.
Conforming to Financial Fair Play will play into the Argentine’s thinking. With Christopher Nkunku due to arrive from RB Leipzig and additions at goalkeeper and centre-forward also wanted, a high number of exits are both expected and required.
The 23-year-old right-back has been on Chelsea’s books since 2007, though has made just two senior appearances for the club. The vast bulk of his Blues career has been spent out on loan in the Football League.
We previously reported Sterling – whose Chelsea contract expires on June 30 – had reached an agreement to join Rangers.
The Scottish side will enter the Champions League next season in the third qualifying round and will now have Sterling available for selection for those ties.
Confirming Sterling has signed a pre-contract agreement with Rangers, a club statement read: “The defender will officially join the club on July 1 on a four-year-deal as he becomes Michael Beale’s second signing of the summer transfer window”.
The first signing referenced in that statement is Kieran Dowell of Norwich City who’ll now be joined by Sterling at Ibrox.
Pochettino turns back on higher profile pair
Elsewhere, Pochettino has opted against pursuing moves for loanees Denis Zakaria and Joao Felix.
Felix had made no secret of his desire to join Chelsea outright from Atletico Madrid after enjoying his six-month loan stint in England.
However, rather than attempt to negotiate a permanent move with Atleti, Chelsea will sever ties with the Portuguese who’ll not return to Stamford Bridge.
That news was confirmed by Fabrizio Romano who carried telling quotes from Atleti president, Enrique Cerezo
Cerezo is quoted as saying: “We have been informed that Pochettino does not count with João Félix for Chelsea. He will return here, we’ll see… we’ve nothing planned”.
Combative midfielder Zakaria will join Felix in leaving Stamford Bridge, with Pochettino deciding against taking up an option to buy.
Zakaria has barely featured since arriving from Juventus on a season-long loan. He did look capable of making an impact when given a chance, though opportunities were few and far between under three different managers.
Romano confirmed Zakaria is not part of Pochettino’s plans and as such, the option to buy worth €30m (approx. £26m) will be ignored.