Chelsea have clinched the signing of Antonio Rudiger as they gave their transfer window the kickstart it desperately needed.
Having seen Romelu Lukaku escape their clutches and move to Manchester United, Chelsea fans were beginning to sweat over their club’s performance in the market following a title win and fearing a repeat of the 2015 scenario.
But the Blues finally added a defender to bolster their options at the back following the departures of John Terry and Nathan Ake to Aston Villa and Bournemouth respectively.
His signing is likely to precede more arrivals at Stamford Bridge, with at least three more players expected to arrive this summer.
Here’s a look at what the rest of the transfer window holds for Chelsea following the arrival of their central defender.
What happens next?
Chelsea do not intend to stop at the signing of Rudiger and are expected to confirm the transfer of Monaco midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko imminently once he completes a medical having agreed a deal with the Ligue 1 winners.
In pictures: Chelsea’s new signing Antonio Rudiger
Bakayoko had been expected to replace Nemanja Matic in the Blues midfield but the transfer of Lukaku to United clouds the situation and he could yet stay at Stamford Bridge.
A striker is the No.1 priority for manager Antonio Conte, who is facing up to the prospect of reserve frontman Michy Batshuayi leading the line during the club’s pre-season tour of the Far East.
The Blues have their eye on United’s alleged ‘fall-back’ option Alvaro Morata, with the Real Madrid striker believed to be keen on a move while Torino striker Andrea Belotti is another alternative although a costly one.
Negotiations with Juventus over a deal for Alex Sandro are proving protracted but Chelsea remain hopeful of a breakthrough while the prospect of another defender cannot be ruled out amid rumours of Kurt Zouma moving out on loan and following the exits of Terry and Ake.
What does the future hold for Diego Costa and Matic?
Costa is due to report for training tomorrow morning at the club’s Cobham base but there remain doubts as to whether or not he will stay put beyond this summer, with Atletico Madrid keen to sign him despite their inability to register players until January.
The Spaniard is intent on a move following the public breakdown of his relationship with Conte and his revelation over a text message sent from his manager informing him he was surplus to requirements has weakened the Blues’ negotiation stance.
While Costa appears likely to leave, there is now doubt over whether Matic will follow him out of the club having previously seemed on the verge of a move to Manchester United.
United’s hijacking of the Blues’ deal for Lukaku has soured relations and it appears unlikely that Chelsea will do their likely title rivals next season any favours in the transfer market.
Juventus – from whom Chelsea admire both Sandro and Leonardo Bonucci – could yet pursue a move for Matic but that does not appear an imminent resolution.
Which other players could go?
Zouma has been linked with a loan move to Sevilla, though a move appears unlikely unless Chelsea add another defender and even then Conte may be minded to keep him with Andreas Christensen facing his debut full season as a first-team player at the club.
Nathaniel Chalobah seems a more likely departure, with Watford leading the chase for his signature and ambiguity over Matic’s situation could force the reserve through the exit door.
Kenedy is another fringe player who appears destined for pastures new with Sandro potentially becoming the first-choice option in the left wing-back position and Marcos Alonso acting as understudy.
Chelsea’s stance to United over Matic is likely to be replicated for any interest Jose Mourinho shows in reuniting with Willian, while the Blues will not countenance interest in Eden Hazard.
There remain some question marks over Michy Batshuayi, though the Belgian’s future is unlikely to be resolved until a new striker is signed and there is some clarity over Costa – and Conte will only consider allowing him out on loan.