For most teams, the summer transfer window is exciting for the anticipation of which players will arrive, rather than the players who will leave. That is about to change for Chelsea and Manchester City, however, as both clubs will soon be forced to sell players to meet the squad limitations that are imposed for both the Premier League and the Champions League before the transfer window officially closes.
Both clubs will be over the limit of foreign players when the time comes to finalize their squad lists for both competitions. Chelsea are subject to the standard limits of just 17 foreign players over the age of 21 in their 25-man squads for both competitions, whereas City, as part of their punishment for breaching the Financial Fair Play rules, are only allowed a 21-man squad with just 16 foreign players over the age of 21 in the Champions League, as well as the standard requirements for their Premier League squad.
City are set to sign center-back Eliaquim Managala from Porto FC, and that signing will put them one player over the limit in the Premier League and two players over in the Champions League. Chelsea are currently one player over in both competitions, but any other foreign signings from now on would mean a subsequent extra departure to match.
The player Chelsea should try to offload should be goalkeeper Petr Cech. Cech has been a loyal servant to Chelsea, but at 32 years of age and with young star Thibaut Courtois ready to take the No. 1 position, it means that Chelsea can afford to offload their longstanding goalkeeper. Cech is probably not overly enamored at the prospect of sitting on the bench behind Courtois anyway, so it may work out well for all parties if a buyer could be found.
Striker Fernando Torres should be the next best option, but Chelsea were not exactly free scoring last season. And with only Diego Costa and an aging Didier Drogba having arrived at the club in that department and with Demba Ba and Romelu Lukaku having already left the club, the striker department is an area where Chelsea may be short on depth if Torres were to go too. Defensive midfielder John Obi Mikel should also be an option, but whether a buyer could be found for the Nigerian would be the major issue there.
City, on the other hand, have fewer options when it comes to offloading a foreign star. Although, after being weak and without depth at center-back last season, all of a sudden City are now overflowing with central defenders. They will have Vincent Kompany, Mangala, Martin Demichelis and young Netherlands defender Karim Rekik available for next season, and that should make Matija Nastasic the main candidate to be offloaded to meet the squad limitations. City will be disappointed to lose such a young and talented defender, but the club has to offload somebody.
A player who should also be in contention to be let go is Javi Garcia, but with Jack Rodwell set to leave the club and new signing Bruno Zuculini set for a loan move, selling Garcia would admittedly leave City with only three experienced central midfielders. Alvaro Negrado was linked with a move away earlier in the summer, although with the recent injury the Spaniard has picked up, that now looks out of the question.
Both clubs will have some difficult and important decisions to make when it comes to constructing their final squads when the transfer window officially closes. It will be interesting from here to see just who is dispensed of by both clubs and how, if at all, it affects their chances for the upcoming season.