Chelsea will hold talks with Callum Hudson-Odoi after it emerged that the winger wants to leave the club for the third time in his career.
Hudson-Odoi was left out of the matchday squad for Chelsea’s Premier League victory over Everton on Saturday, despite the fact that negotiations have taken place for Hakim Ziyech, who was on the substitutes’ bench, to leave Stamford Bridge this summer.
Timo Werner was also not among the substitutes and RB Leipzig are hopeful of signing the German. Chelsea could also now choose to listen to bids for 21-year-old Hudson-Odoi.
Chelsea insist that there has been no dispute with Hudson-Odoi and that he has not made an official request to go, with talks between the club and his representatives set to take place this week.
Having been surprised by his Goodison Park omission, Hudson-Odoi believes a loan move before the transfer window shuts would benefit his career after missing a large part of last season through injury.
Hudson-Odoi wants to play regularly in what he feels is his best position: on the left side of a front three. He has often been used as a makeshift wing-back by head coach Thomas Tuchel.
This is at least the third time Hudson-Odoi has opened the door to leave Chelsea, having been denied a loan move last summer and having handed in a transfer request in 2019.
It was after handing in that transfer request that Chelsea gave him a five-year contract worth £120,000-a-week, which still has two years left to run.
Brendan Rodgers, the Leicester City manager, is an admirer of Hudson-Odoi and Chelsea remain in talks with the midlands club over their bid to buy Wesley Fofana. Borussia Dortmund are also interested in Hudson-Odoi.
Hudson-Odoi has not yet been offered to Leicester as part of Chelsea’s attempt to sign Fofana, while Southampton are also believed to be interested in the player.
It remains to be seen whether or not Chelsea would be willing to allow Hudson-Odoi, Werner and Ziyech all to leave, with all three now keen on going. Tuchel would almost certainly insist on Chelsea signing at least one new forward, with the club interested in Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
Analysis: Sterling likely to marginalise Hudson-Odoi
By Matt Law
It would not be a transfer window without doubt emerging over Callum Hudson-Odoi’s Chelsea future.
Hudson-Odoi handed in a transfer request in January 2019, when Bayern Munich made a bid to take him away from Chelsea.
Despite signing a new lucrative contract, the winger almost left again a year later when Bayern made another move to sign him, initially on loan.
Just as Chelsea did not let him go then, head coach Thomas Tuchel blocked a loan move for Hudson-Odoi last summer, reasoning that he would be better to stay and learn under him.
So this is the fourth transfer window in the past eight that Hudson-Odoi’s future has been thrown into doubt.
Injuries have undoubtedly affected Hudson-Odoi’s progress at Chelsea, particularly last season, but he has also been played out of position as a makeshift wing-back on a number of occasions by Tuchel.
Critics will point to his huge contract as causing a problem for Chelsea and Hudson-Odoi, and managers have questioned his application in training at times.
But Hudson-Odoi’s general attitude has never been criticised at Chelsea, so it would be unfair to completely attribute his situation to his contract or salary.
It now seems the best course of action would be to allow Hudson-Odoi to leave on loan or permanently, given that Raheem Sterling’s arrival means he is less likely than ever to get regular playing time in his favoured position on the left side of a front three.