Chelsea and Mason Mount make breakthrough in talks over new

ผู้เขียน: ที่มา:ต้นฉบับ เวลา:2022-11-23 เรียกดู:

Stalemate.Chelsealooking at replacements. He already has a move elsewhere on his mind.

These are just some of the terms and phrases used to describe whats going on regardingMason Mounts contract discussions of late.

You can understand why Mounts future at Chelsea is coming under increasing scrutiny. In September,The AthleticrevealedChelsea had started negotiations with their two best academy graduates, Mount and Reece James. Just a few days later and James hadsigned a long-term dealwhich made him the highest-paid defender in the clubs history.

Out of the two players, though, Mounts situation was the more pressing because his agreement expires in 2024, whereas Jamess previous one had an extra 12 months to run after that.

But here we are over two months later and there has been no resolution. Given Mount has been voted the clubs player of the year by supporters for the past two seasons, people are inevitably going to start getting concerned and ask what is happening. He has a fine record of 32 goals and 37 assists in 181 appearances. That works out as one goal involvement every 2.6 matches and surely the record will improve with his peak years ahead of him.

Well, some of the more alarming headlines are premature.The Athleticsources, who wished to remain anonymous to protect their positions, have revealed Chelsea chairman Todd Boehly and co-owner Behdad Eghbali held talks with Mounts representatives in the past few weeks and a positive breakthrough has been made.

Mount is a popular figure among Chelsea fans but has been short of his top form this season he has not scored in his past eight matches (Photo: Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images)

They have actually met on a number of occasions since initial conversations got underway in July, but both sides walked out of this latest encounter thinking a significant step had been taken.

That is not to say everything is agreed. There are still some details to finalise. But this is the closest the two sides have got. There is genuine hope now that things could be concluded after another scheduled meeting takes place in January and that Mount will sign then.

Some will wonder what the hold-up has been about, especially as Mount has made no secret of his love for Chelsea, having been there since the age of six. Indeed, when asked byThe Athleticin July about his desire to extend his stay at Chelsea, he suggested it was only a matter of time.

He said: Its so exciting what the future holds. After the last game of the season we (the club) had a little get-together at the hotel and he (Todd Boehly) was there with the rest of the consortium. It was good to meet them in person and speak to them all.

Speaking to them about their goals and aims, were on the same page. So hopefully that continues. Ive got two years left on my contract and Im very, very happy here. Those talks will hopefully be starting soon.

There have been a lot of things to sort out at Chelsea since Boehly-Clearlake took over the club in late May and Mounts contract shouldnt have been one of them. Despite the midfielders dramatic emergence as one of the best youngsters in English football, the previous regime made no attempt to discuss a new long-term deal.

Mounts previous contract negotiations were finalised following his return from Derby on loan in 2019. As someone who had yet to play for the senior team, the financial package was always going to be small compared to many others in the dressing room.

With Mount quickly establishing himself as one of the teams most important players, there was surprise among other top sides that Chelsea allowed it to run down to two years, a juncture which can leave the club vulnerable to an individual leaving for a cheaper price or even as a free agent. Chelsea experienced the latter with two key internationals in Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen, who joinedReal MadridandBarcelonarespectively, for free in the summer.

No contracts could be discussed once previous owner Roman Abramovich was sanctioned by the UK government in March, but there had been no indication there was anything imminent in that regard anyway.

That decision was always going to alert other clubs. Before the sale was completed,The Athleticlearned that Mount, as well as James, werealready being targetedby some of the biggest teams in England and Europe. It put the Boehly-Clearlake consortium in a more awkward negotiation position from the get-go.

Boehly-Clearlake have not been helped with having so many other things to deal with, including a first transfer window, setting up a new senior management team to help run the club, as well as the decision to replace head coach Thomas Tuchel with Graham Potter. Plus they have businesses to run in America so arent in England 24/7.

As youd suspect, one of the stumbling blocks has been to do with the size of Mounts salary. He is a first-team regular the only one to play in everyPremier Leaguegame for Chelsea this season, having also been picked consistently by previous managers Frank Lampard and Tuchel. The 23-year-old can rightly ask to be paid closer to what the biggest earners are getting. But that means a significant pay rise in one go.

The new owners are trying to offer players more incentivised contracts. This means giving a decent base salary but with the ability to earn a lot more depending on individual and team achievements. This is great in theory but doesnt work if other clubs are willing to pay a higher sum should a transfer take place.

Another aspect which has prompted a lot of back and forth is the length of contract. They successfully convincedArmando Broja(six years) and James (five plus an option for another 12 months) to commit for a long period of time.The Athleticsources at the club, remaining anonymous so they can keep their job, say that one of the offers made to Mount was for seven years but this was rejected.

Should this be construed as a lack of dedication on Mounts part compared to his team-mates? No. As Tuchels departure showed, things can change in football very quickly. The longer contract you sign, the more say over your future you relinquish to the club. It doesnt mean Mount is already plotting a move away in a few years time. Signing for four or five years, for example, is still a long period and there is always the option to discuss fresh terms again.

Mount has also been concentrating to help the team recover from a difficult start to the season and has wanted to focus on improving his own form. He has two goals (both came in the same game againstAston Villa) and six assists from 21 appearances for Chelsea this season. Its not too bad, but he expects to do more.

With Chelsea dropping to eighth in the Premier League and having lost four of the past five games, it is not the right period to be posing in front of a camera with Boehly celebrating a new contract.

Plus, the closer it got to theWorld Cup, the less likely anything would be resolved before then. This is his first World Cup withEngland he flew to Qatar with the rest of the squad on Tuesday and wants to be fully focused on that.

Apart from the FIFA Club World Cup and the ambition of the new owners, this year hasnt provided too many positives for Chelsea. Fans of Mount should remain optimistic that he will provide some better news at the start of the next.

(Top photo: Jacques Feeney/Offside/Offside via Getty Images)

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Simon Johnsonhas spent the majority of his career as a sports reporter since 2000 covering Chelsea, firstly for Hayters and then the London Evening Standard. This included going to every game home and away as the west London club secured the Champions League in 2012. He has also reported on the England national team between 2008-19 and been a regular contributor to talkSPORT radio station for over a decade.Follow Simon on Twitter@SJohnsonSport