Piazon leaves Chelsea for Braga after nine years with Premier League club

Lucas Piazon main image BragaGetty Images

Chelsea have released Lucas Piazon after nine years, with the attacker agreeing to a four-and-a-half-year contract with Portuguese side Braga.

Braga will not pay a fee for Piazon, who is still to complete a medical with the Primeira Liga side.

The Blues have been keen to trim their loan group ahead of new FIFA regulations coming in the summer that limit clubs stockpiling senior talent.

The transfer was delayed, however, after Rio Ave refused to give up the registration for Piazon to a rival, despite Chelsea having the contractual right to recall and sell their player.

The 26-year-old was forced to wait for his move while club lawyers and FIFA's TMS department got involved in resolving the dispute to allow the transfer to go through.

Piazon played only three times for Chelsea since joining the club in a £5 million ($7m) move from Sao Paulo back in 2012.

He was the joint longest-serving senior player on a contract at the club along with Cesar Azpilicueta, but spent the majority of his career on loan at several different clubs.

Part of Piazon's desire to leave the loan group is to find a permanent home for his young family, having had his first child during the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

At Braga, he will be reunited with former Rio Ave manager Carlos Carvalhal, who brought him to the Portuguese league.

Meanwhile, Chelsea are trying to trim Frank Lampard's first-team squad and are looking to find solutions for Fikayo Tomori and Marcos Alonso, while they would consider an exit for Kepa Arrizabalaga.

Tomori is attracting interest from unnamed clubs in the Premier League as well as AC Milan. The two Spain internationals, meanwhile, are proving more difficult to offload due to their high wages.

Emerson Palmieri will stay put despite almost joining Juventus in the summer transfer window and Chelsea will opt to keep Rudiger, who had briefly explored a January move.

Tino Anjorin, Lewis Bate and Henry Lawrence are also considering loan moves away as Chelsea's first-team squad is so large, limiting chances for the next crop of academy players.

Chelsea called up all three to train with the first-team ahead of their FA Cup third-round match with Morecambe, but only Anjorin made the squad against the League Two side.

Baba Rahman, meanwhile, has two loan offers in from unnamed clubs in Spain and Germany, while Danny Drinkwater is among the players who are allowed to leave.

Chelsea also rejected a £3m offer from Rostov for Ike Ugbo and are seeking £5m for the in-form 22-year-old striker, who is on loan at Cercle Brugge.