Chelsea are facing into a very uncertain summer.
While progress has been made in the process to sell the club, there have been a number of holdups that make the final date for completion uncertain at this point. Even when the sale does go through, it remains to be seen what sort of budget will be available to sign players this summer.
The club could certainly do with some new recruits, most notably at the back. Andreas Christensen and Antonio Rudiger have already confirmed that they will leave the club on free transfers in the weeks ahead, while Cesar Azpilicueta and Marcos Alonso could also follow them out the door. That leaves Chelsea woefully short at the back, especially for a team that usually employs a three-man defence.
Rudiger is probably the biggest loss of the lot. He is among the best centre backs in the Premier League on his day, with Chelsea desperate to keep him. However, he instead opted to take a lucrative contract offer from Real Madrid.
It had been suggested that the sanctions placed on the club in recent months had an impact on negotiations between the two parties, although it appears that talks had broken down long before that.
Antonio Rudiger explains Chelsea exit
Speaking to the Players' Tribune, Antonio Rudiger revealed that negotiations between his representatives and Chelsea had broken down as early as last autumn. Despite this, he holds no ill feelings towards the club.
Unfortunately, my contract negotiations had already started to get difficult last fall. Business is business, but when you don't hear any news from the club from August to January, the situation becomes complicated.
After the first offer, there was a long gap of just nothing. We're not robots, you know? You cannot wait for months with so much uncertainty about your future. Obviously, no one saw the sanctions coming, but in the end, other big clubs were showing interest, and I had to make a decision.
I will leave it at that, because business aside, I have nothing bad to say about this club.
Chelsea will always be in my heart. London will always be my home. I came here alone, and now I have a wife and two beautiful kids. I also have a new brother for life named Kova [Mateo Kovacic].
I have an FA Cup, a Europa League and a Champions League medal. And of course, I have hundreds of memories that will stay with me forever.
It is rumoured that Chelsea's final offer to the player came in at around £220,000 per-week, while Real Madrid gave the player a contract worth a whopping £342,000 per-week.
There was no way the English side were ever going to match that, especially after the sanctions were placed on them. In saying that, it is going to take quite a hefty lump of cash to replace Rudiger with a player of similar quality.