The turmoil surrounding Chelsea following sanctions against club owner Roman Abramovich could lead to a mass player exodus, according to former England defender Rio Ferdinand.
Abramovich had his assets frozen, including Chelsea, by the UK Government this week, stalling a sale of the club.
The Premier League outfit was given a licence to continue operations, but they can’t sell tickets or merchandise, offer new contracts or sign new players, among other restrictions.
Three first-team players – Antonio Rudiger, Cesar Azpilicueta and Andreas Christensen – are out of contract at the end of the season and will therefore have no choice but to leave Stamford Bridge under the current restrictions.
“If you take it back to the players, that uncertainty leads to anxiety, fear, and not knowing is always the worst-case scenario,” Ferdinand told BT Sport.
"There will be players sitting there who are coming out of contracts going ‘there’s no way I’m staying'.
“That could be a driver for a mass exodus of players who are saying: 'we are potentially losing our best players, we could’ve re-signed but now they’ve gone I can’t commit to this, I want three or five years or certainty rather than looking at this thinking what if this goes to litigation over the next few years where do we sit with it all'.
“There are so many questions and moving parts it makes it difficult to really want to commit to a situation like that.”
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Alasdair Mackenzie is a freelance journalist based in Rome, and a FourFourTwo contributor since 2015. When not pulling on the FFT shirt, he can be found at Reuters, The Times and the i. An Italophile since growing up on a diet of Football Italia on Channel 4, he now counts himself among thousands of fans sharing a passion for Ross County and Lazio.
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