Chelsea exodus begins with £17.5m signing to take step down; Aston Villa, Everton new frontrunners for classy Blues forward

Chelsea are on the cusp of sending a £17.5m summer recruit down a division on loan, while Aston Villa and Everton have emerged as the primary candidates to sign a forward whose days at Stamford Bridge are numbered, per reports.

An inevitability of Chelsea splashing the cash this month was always going to be a series of late-window exits. Aside from helping to balance the books, the Blues also need to clear space just to simply register their new signings in their Champions League squad, for example.

One player who’s been linked with an exit is Moroccan point guard, Hakim Ziyech.

The 29-year-old has been put up for sale according to Gianluca Di Marzio. With Joao Felix (loan), David Datro Fofana, Noni Madueke and Mykhailo Mudryk all bolstering the forward line, Ziyech is among the odd men out.

Di Marzio reported Chelsea are prioritizing an outright sale and are willing to sell for as little as €20m (approx. £17.6m). That is some way below the £38m (including add-ons) Chelsea paid Ajax back in 2020.

Nevertheless, Ziyech is on the chopping block and five suitors have emerged.

From Italy, Rome and AC Milan are in the mix, though according to various sources, not for much longer.

AC cannot afford a permanent move right now, while Roma cannot come close to matching Ziyech’s £100,000-a-week wages.

That’s according to Sky Sports’ Kavel Solkehol, who stated (via BirminghamLive): “Quite a lot of interest in a few of theirs [Chelsea’s] players. One of the main ones is Hakim Ziyech.

“Sky Italy have been telling us that Roma have been holding talks with Ziyech’s representatives. The only issue is that Hakim Ziyech is on around £100,000-a-week. Rome can’t stretch to paying those kinds of wages for him.”

Everton, Villa, new frontrunners for Ziyech

From closer to home, Everton, Aston Villa and Newcastle have all been mentioned alongside a Ziyech swoop.

However, Newcastle have struck an initial £40m agreement to sign Anthony Gordon and that move will likely see their interest in Ziyech shelved.

That leaves just Everton and Aston Villa in the race, with both desperate for late-window fireworks.

Sean Dyche is expected to take the reins at Goodison Park and replacing Gordon will be among his first priorities.

Everton would have no problem meeting Chelsea’s demands once receiving the Gordon money. Convincing Ziyech to sign up for a relegation scrap will be the trickier aspect of a deal.

Unai Emery, meanwhile, has cash to burn after the club were reportedly prepared to activate Nico Williams’ £45m release clause.

The explosive Athletic Bilbao forward indicated he doesn’t want to leave the Basque Country, however, so Villa walked away from the move.

Udinese’s Gerard Deulofeu has been linked, though that route came to an unfortunate end in recent days. The ex-Everton frontman has suffered an ACL injury that requires surgery to fix.

The Athletic put Villa in the frame to sign Ziyech earlier this week. With Roma, Milan and Newcastle all out of the running, the race has seemingly come down to Villa and Everton.

Chelsea midfielder to drop a division

Elsewhere, Chelsea midfielder Cesare Casadei is poised to join Reading on loan.

The Italian was a £17.5m (including future add-ons) signing from Inter Milan last summer. He arrived in the same window as fellow youngsters Gabriel Slonina and Carney Chukwuemeka as Todd Boehly sought to invest in the club’s future.

Casadei is yet to make his first-team Blues debut and for the Athletic and Fabrizio Romano, is unlikely to do so this season.

That’s because he’s poised to join Championship side Reading on loan for the remainder of the campaign.

Both sources confirmed an option to buy will not be included.

READ MORE: Chelsea reportedly complete deal for Ligue 1 wonderkid as Todd Boehly spending spree continues


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