Chelsea can still sign both Mateo Kovacic and Gonzalo Higuain despite the club’s transfer ban but have only just started talks with the Croatia midfielder, according to reports.
The Blues are confident that they have the ability to hold on to both loan stars without going against their FIFA-imposed embargo on signing new players, with football’s governing body having rejecting the Premier League outfit’s appeal to delay the ban.
Chelsea have taken the next step in trying to overturn and put a stop to the sanction by appealing to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) and could hear back before the Europa League final with Arsenal.
They have, however, seen the Premier League transfer window open on Thursday without being able to bring new players.
Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri wants to retain both Kovacic and Higuain – despite concerns over the Argentine’s form – and the pair wants to stay at the club having fallen out of favour at their parent clubs.
Real Madrid wants to sell Kovacic to help raise funds for the summer window after a disappointing campaign by their own high standards, while Juventus want a future without Higuain in Turin.
In Kovacic’s case, a transfer is already being discussed and a fee could be agreed to convert his loan into a permanent deal without a need for the blues to re-register the player on the electronic TMS system used to process transfers.
However, Sarri’s future at Stamford Bridge is still far from being secure, slowing Chelsea’s operations in the transfer market.
Indeed, a third-place finish, Champions League qualification, a Carabao Cup final and a Europa League victory still may not be enough to see the Italian remain in west London long term.
Sarri’s future would have an effect on any deal for Higuain, as many at the club remain unconvinced by the Argentine, who has scored only five goals since joining in the January window.
One other positive for Chelsea is the ability to recall loanees such as Michy Batshuayi and Tammy Abraham, who have been playing at Crystal Palace and Aston Villa, respectively, even if a transfer ban does end up being imposed this summer.