Thomas Tuchel faces being stuck with a number of unwanted players as Chelsea struggle to attract bids for any of their flops.
As Chelsea work on trying to tie up their third summer signing, Jules Kounde, who has traveled on Sevilla’s pre-season trip to Portugal having originally been left off it, the club have made little progress in selling players who are surplus to requirements.
Head coach Tuchel dropped four youngsters from his first-team squad that is touring the United States to accommodate players such as Michy Batshuayi, Kenedy, Ross Barkley and Malang Sarr.
Chelsea traveled to Charlotte for their second pre-season friendly without Kepa Arrizabalaga and Timo Werner, both of whom Tuchel would listen to bids for.
But the Premier League outfit have so far not been able to find clubs who are willing to pay a fee and take on the big wages to sign the likes of Kepa, Werner and even Batshuayi. AC Milan have held talks over a loan move for Hakim Ziyech, who Chelsea would rather cash in on.
The only firm offers Chelsea have so far received for players have been for young stars such as Armando Broja, from West Ham United, and Levi Colwill, who made his first Chelsea appearance in Charlotte.
Barcelona want to sign captain Cesar Azpilicueta, who Tuchel has been reluctant to let go while Chelsea attempt to sign Kounde and Presnel Kimpembe from Paris Saint-Germain.
Just as important as adding new players to his squad is trimming the flops who cost the club millions on the wage bill and could become unhappy if they have to remain at Chelsea without any real prospect of playing.
Batshuayi and Kenedy have done little in their pre-season appearances so far to attract offers.
Sterling scored a penalty in his first Chelsea appearance, as Tuchel’s team fell to a shootout defeat to Charlotte after conceding a stoppage-time equalizer in normal time.
The England international, who cost an initial £47.5million from Manchester City, has promised the Chelsea fans he will net plenty more goals in the forthcoming season.
“It is an exciting time for me,” said Sterling. “I know how much more I have to offer. I still feel within myself that there is another step that I will be fighting to get on to and this is the perfect platform for me to be on to do that. Hopefully… not hopefully, I can do that in person at the Bridge for many years to come, banging them goals in, simple as that.”
Sterling: ‘I feel at home already’
Having been at City and Liverpool, Sterling, who grew up near Wembley Stadium, also spoke of his delight at moving closer to his family home.
“Every time I get back to London it is a surreal feeling,” said Sterling. “When I first went up north, I never really used to come down much. My family used to always come up so I could stay focused on work. Sometimes London can be a distraction, but I am old enough now, mature enough.
“For my kids and family, it is going to be a big opportunity for us to spend more quality time with my mum, their grandmother and be closer together. You know what it is like. You score or you win a game, pop round to mum’s and have some Sunday dinner and pop back up. It is lovely.”
Sterling already feels at home within the Chelsea squad, alongside a number of players he already knew from the England set-up.
“I know a few of the boys from the national team, Mase (Mason Mount), Chilly (Ben Chilwell), to name a few,” said Sterling. “I’ve got a good connection with Callum (Hudson-Odoi) already.
“Of course, playing against each other you always speak to players on match day and it’s always been a group that even if it’s been a tackle or something, it has been a good feel. They’ve welcomed me really well and I feel at home already.”