Soccer NewsSunday 3rd July 2016

Chelsea, Palace target Batshuayi to announce exit

Chelsea, Palace target Batshuayi to announce exit

Reported Chelsea target Michy Batshuayi has written an open letter to Marseille supporters in which he says his departure from the club will be confirmed on Sunday.

The Belgium striker, 22, has been linked with a £33million move to Stamford Bridge after two successful years at the Stade Velodrome.

Without confirming his destination, he wrote in a post on his Twitter feed on Saturday evening: “It will be made official tomorrow, I will be leaving Olympique Marseille this summer.”

Batshuayi began his career at Standard Liege and joined OM in the summer of 2014, scoring 15 goals in his first season with the club.

He took a step forward last season with 26 goals, including 17 in Ligue 1 even as Marseille struggled to 13th in the table – just nine points clear of the relegation zone.

His performances earned him a place in Belgium’s European Championship squad and he immediately announced himself on his tournament debut, scoring within two minutes of his introduction as a substitute against Hungary in the last 16.

Batshuayi wrote: “Above all, I particularly want to thank all the supporters of OM: during my two years with the club I have loved since I was young, you have shown me your affection and support.

“It’s a big honour for me to have worn this jersey at the Velodrome, a stadium which you have made magnificent with an atmosphere which is unique in France.

“I thank the directors of Olympique de Marseille for having confidence in me and the coaching staff who have helped me progress.

“Having developed for a season under coach (Marcelo) Bielsa was a privilege and I would love to achieve what he has wished for me in the remainder of my career.

“Thanks also to coach Franck Passi for having supported and advised me since my arrival at Marseille, and my team-mates for these two seasons.

“I hope I can keep making you proud with my new club, and will continue to follow closely the results of OM. I hope the club can recover the results they deserve.”

Marseille’s struggles last season came after the departure of a number of first-team players in the summer, and the pattern looks to be repeating this time around.

Captain and goalkeeper Steve Mandanda and key defender Nicolas Nkoulou have departed for Crystal Palace and Lyon respectively, while playmaker Lucas Ocampos has joined Genoa on an initial loan deal and Batshuayi is set to be next through the exit door.