As if this summer wasn’t already going to be difficult enough, the “misunderstanding” in extra-time of the Carabao Cup final [VIDEO] has added another problem to the growing list at Chelsea.

The game saw Kepa Arrizabalaga seemingly refuse his manager’s attempts to substitute him and Maurizio Sarri seemingly contemplated throwing in the towel before the game had even come to an end. Fans were split on who to support, with the future of both managers and players scrutinised after the final whistle.

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It will undoubtedly be a tough summer to endure for Chelsea fans, but how is it likely to play out and what are the big issues that the club needs to resolve if it to put itself back in the Premier League running for the 2019/20 season?

Player vs manager: Will Chelsea sack Sarri?

Will Chelsea sack Sarri? History tells us that the Italian boss will likely be heading for the exit this summer. Not because he has seemingly lost the confidence of his players, but because their downing of tools will likely see Chelsea fail to make the top four this season and, unless they can navigate past teams like Sevilla, Napoli and Inter Milan in the Europa League, end it without a trophy.

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As the likes of Carlo Ancelotti will tell you, past successes mean little at the end of a disappointing season. Even with victory in the Europa League, there is no guarantee that Sarri will keep his job at the end of the campaign.

Despite players insisting that the manager still has their respect, the Arrizabalaga incident has seriously called that into question. There has always been talk of player power at Chelsea.

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The media claimed players were involved in the sacking of Jose Mourinho (twice), as well as the departures of Luiz Felipe Scolari, Andre Villas-Boas and Antonio Conte. Incidents like this won’t make it go away. Even if Sarri still holds the dressing room, the pressure is intensifying and each bad result will bring further scrutiny of his approach to the game.

Arrizabalaga meanwhile, got a slap on the wrist for defying his manager.

For him, that will likely be the end of what club, manager, and player branded a “misunderstanding”. Having cost Chelsea £71 million in the summer, the club will undoubtedly stick by their record signing despite leaving him on the bench against Tottenham.

Eden Hazard to Real Madrid?

Chelsea fans likely won't mind how the Sarri saga plays out, so long as whoever is in charge over the summer convinces club talisman Eden Hazard to sign a new contract.

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The star winger once again showed his talent in the Carabao Cup final defeat to Manchester City, carrying Chelsea all the way to penalties with his quick feet and intelligent movements.

Having once again endured 90 minutes of Chelsea’s age-old defend and counter tactics, it is difficult to see why Hazard would want to stick with Chelsea. The Champions League trophy has so far eluded him and it is difficult to imagine this Chelsea side getting past the likes of Barcelona, PSG, and Manchester City anytime soon.

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Hazard’s contract expires in June 2020, and if he is unwilling to sign this summer, Chelsea would be forced to let him move on or risk losing him for nothing in 12 months. According to the Evening Standard, Real Madrid are waiting patiently for Hazard to make a decision on his future, having prioritised signing the Belgian over moves for Paris Saint-Germain’s Neymar and Kylian Mbappe.

Reports from The Sun claim that Hazard would be willing to stay if the club convinces Zinedine Zidane to take over from Sarri this summer. The French manager was frequently linked with the winger during his time at Real Madrid and disagreements over his signing reportedly led to his exit last summer.

So could he be the man to stop Hazard bringing down the curtain on his Chelsea spell? Chelsea could well be on the lookout for a new manager come June, and if the reports are to be believed, Zidane would be willing to take the job if he is backed in the transfer market.

However, even if club owner Roman Abramovich is willing to blow the dust off of his chequebook, Chelsea still faces a problem that it can’t just throw money at.

Chelsea transfer ban: A problem that money can’t solve

Bertrand Traore, once hailed as the future of Chelsea football club, was unable to displace Hazard in the starting lineup, but he could still prove to be the end of Hazard’s time at Chelsea.

Last week saw the club hit with a two-window transfer ban relating to the signing of 29 players under the age of 18. Chelsea is accused of playing a number of young players signed on trial contracts in youth matches without proper registration. There are also charges for “third-party influence”, which usually relates to payments made to agents and family members to breach contracts in order to get first refusal on a player once they are of legal age to sign a professional contract.

Ahead of the Tottenham clash on Wednesday night, Sarri insisted that Chelsea can “solve the problem”, as reported by the Metro. The club is appealing the decision and history suggests that this will delay the ban. As with Barcelona’s transfer ban in 2014, the case will likely drag on, providing the Blues with enough time to strengthen the squad.

In that regard, Chelsea should be okay. But then football is unpredictable at the best of times, and Chelsea are among the best for providing entertainment off the pitch.

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