Chelsea to let duo leave

Anelka and Alex have transfer requests accepted

Nicolas Anelka: Chelsea are ready to listen to offers for the striker and defender Alex

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Nicolas Anelka and Alex could be set to depart Chelsea in January after having transfer requests accepted by the club.

Neither player was involved in the squad as the Blues overcame Newcastle 3-0 at St James' Park on Saturday to ease the pressure on manager Andre Villas-Boas.

Anelka's future has been the subject of speculation over the past fortnight after reports suggested he was attracting interest from China, but he later denied saying he was resigned to leaving.

However, it now appears as though the Frenchman, who joined Chelsea from Bolton in 2008 but has fallen down the pecking order this season, could be on his way out of Stamford Bridge before his contract expires next summer.

The Blues are also ready to listen to offers for Brazilian defender Alex when the transfer window reopens after the turn of the year.

Alex has been an integral member of the squad since linking up with Chelsea in 2007 after a spell with PSV Eindhoven, but has not played regularly this term.

Chelsea announced after the match with Newcastle that Anelka and Alex could go as they were no longer a part of the manager's plans and were not training with the first team.

Direct

Villas-Boas said: "The conversation was fair and very, very frontal and direct with the players. The players have shown their interest in leaving the club, they have put in transfer requests for quite some time.

"They are top, top professionals - their professionalism and integrity is never in question - but at this moment and with the recent form and results, we have decided just to try to get the group together, and we have decided to assign different training times for Anelka and Alex.

"Again, it was a frontal and direct conversation, the players were fantastic in assuming it. The group was informed and they took on board the decision.

"The transfer request was accepted - it doesn't mean that it will happen, and if it doesn't happen, the players will return to full training."

Speculation over where Anelka and Alex might go is now sure to increase over the coming month, with a number of clubs linked to both players.

Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp refused to rule out a move for Anelka earlier this week, despite stressing that he had not yet enquired about his availability.