José Mourinho intends to speak face to face with every member of his Chelsea squad when the players return for training next month before determining the make‑up of the group that will attempt to regain the Premier League title next term.
The manager will tell all-comers they must impress him first-hand in pre-season if they are to earn a key role in the side, having made it clear there will be "no privileges" afforded to any of a party which includes a quintet of players who featured under him during his first spell at Stamford Bridge. All will be expected to buy into Mourinho's approach and meet the demands he places on them, as the manager considers his options with 27 fringe players and youngsters due to return from loan spells seeking involvement in the senior set-up.
The bulk of the squad is due to report to Cobham on 8 July, before the side's departure for a three-match tour of Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia that week. Chelsea have six players – David Luiz, Oscar, Mikel John Obi, César Azpilicueta, Juan Mata and Fernando Torres – preparing for the Confederations Cup, which begins on Saturday in Brazil, and that contingent are likely to be granted more time off before linking up with their team-mates in Bangkok. That means it may be mid-July or later before Mourinho has spoken personally to them all and subsequently puts the finishing touches to his squad.
The Portuguese said that "one or two" additions will be made, with interest retained in Edinson Cavani at Napoli – though Chelsea will be reluctant to meet the €63m (£54m) buy-out clause in the Uruguayan's contract – and, more realistically, a deal understood to be close for Fiorentina's Steven Jovetic at around £25m. The Italian club hope to secure Bayern Munich's Mario Gomez as a replacement.
There have been suggestions in Poland that Robert Lewandowski's agent, Cezary Kucharski, will visit London on Friday as Borussia Dortmund continue to resist the forward's desire to move to Bayern, though the Pole's preference remains forcing through a move to the Allianz Arena.
Mourinho could yet have to generate more funds for incoming transfers through sales should he decide the squad is particularly short in some areas, with David Luiz – who has attracted tentative interest from Barcelona – arguably the most saleable asset. His sale, however, would be politically delicate given the favourable impression the Brazilian made last season. Torres, who has three years to run on his contract, may also be moved on, though it seems unlikely that a rival club would come in with an acceptable offer for the Spaniard and then be willing to offer him an equivalent salary.
Regardless, the manager will discuss the situation with the striker before any decision is made having made great play of his desire to operate "by meritocracy" at his first press conference on Monday. "There are still a few boys from my time, and it is always good to go back and see these people who gave absolutely everything to me when I was here before," he said. "But it's important to tell you – not them, because they know – that [there will be] no privilege for them. They know my nature. They don't have an advantage in relation to the other people."
Mikel has controversially declared himself available to play for Nigeria against Namibia on Wednesday – before his side's departure for Brazil – in a World Cup qualifier to be staged on an artificial surface. The midfielder had been suffering from back and hip problems over the final weeks of the season and Chelsea's medical department were understood to be keener he did not risk a relapse on the Astroturf at the Sam Nujoma Stadium in Windhoek.
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