Batshuayi ruthlessly axed by Lampard but Chelsea left with familiar issue

Michy Batshuayi’s Chelsea future is all but over after the Belgian was axed from a behind-closed-doors friendly as the Blues prepare for the Premier League restart.

But now the issue facing the London club is a familiar one, as they seek to recoup some of the £32million they splashed on the striker.

Batshuayi has struggled to carve out a spot for himself at Stamford Bridge since arriving from Marseille in 2016.

He has spent time on loan at Borussia Dortmund, Valencia and Crystal Palace – with varying degrees of success – and has only ever been a bit-part player during his time in west London.

Despite that, fans will have fond memories of the 26-year-old scoring the goal that secured the title under Antonio Conte in 2016-17.

But despite being back at the club this term, Bathshuayi has seen playing time limited, behind Tammy Abraham and Olivier Giroud in the pecking order under Frank Lampard.

With Giroud having agreed a new contract and Timo Werner set to arrive from RB Leipzig in a £52million move ahead of next season, Lampard’s frontline is set to be further strengthened – thus pushing Batshuayi further down the pecking order.

The striker has been training with the first-team squad since their return to Cobham, and played 30 minutes of a recent inter-squad match at Stamford Bridge.

But this week the Belgian was axed from a friendly against Reading, left out completely as Lampard’s men got more minutes under their belts ahead of the season’s resumption next week.

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Once more, as in previous years, Chelsea are desperate to sell Batshuayi to bring in funds as they counter their summer spending – having also already sealed the £38million arrival of Hakim Ziyech.

However, they have repeatedly priced themselves out of deals for the £110k-a-week forward by looking for a big transfer fee.

Now, amid the coronavirus pandemic and the subsequent impact that is having on clubs across the planet, he has just one year left on his contract.

Unless they lower their transfer demands considerably from summers past, then he will once more be left in limbo during the 2020-21 season.

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