Callum Hudson-Odoi remains intent on leaving Chelsea this summer, with Bayern Munich at the front of the queue to sign the England winger.
The 18-year-old reinforced his soaring profile as one of Europe’s biggest talents by making his first two senior England appearances in this international window — with his performance in Monday’s 5-1 win over Montenegro particularly eye-catching.
But despite his breakthrough week, Hudson-Odoi still wants to leave Stamford Bridge at the earliest opportunity.
The teenager is frustrated at the lack of Premier League opportunities he has been given this season by manager Maurizio Sarri, who is yet to hand Hudson-Odoi his first top-flight start.
The Chelsea academy graduate wanted to leave in January, but shellshocked senior allies stayed on the hotel premises, they declined to comment further. Purkiss, however, faced the media after what he admitted to this newspaper had been an ‘incredibly difficult few months’.
It was Purkiss who gave the explosive interview to Sportsmail last November that revealed a civil war had erupted at the PFA. The seriously-injured 34-year-old Walsall defender, who had never earned more than £60,000 a year, explained how his calls for an independent review had been met by Taylor — the highest paid trade union boss in the UK on a £2.2million salary — with an attempt to oust him on a technicality.
Taylor had informed the 92 PFA club delegates that the AGM had been adjourned because an issue had arisen with the eligibility of Purkiss to remain in his position as chairman.
As a consequence, Purkiss was forced to go public, and there followed a series of damaging revelations as part of a Sportsmail investigation that revealed potential breaches of trade union regulations and issues with PFA finances that prompted a Charity Commission investigation that remains in progress.
Last night former Sports Minister Tracey Crouch was among those who questioned why the courageous Purkiss also had to leave. ‘Surely the first chairman to take on Gordon Taylor in pushing for wholesale modernisation is the one you want to keep,’ she said.
In an interview with Sportsmail last night, however, Purkiss said he could not be seen to be gaining personally from the biggest crisis in the history of the mega-rich union.
‘A few people have questioned what I was doing and why I was doing it,’ he said.
‘I had to be clear that this was not for personal gain, that I was not positioning myself. I just had to do my job as the chairman of the PFA to the best of my ability, for the members. And as a member of the steering committee that will be formed, I have a chance to help effect change and leave the PFA in a better place.
‘It has been an incredibly difficult few months. I’ve probably ruffled a few feathers and put a few noses out of joint. I didn’t quite realise the traction it would get in the first place. But the PFA will be in a healthier place and that is important to me. I was very proud to be appointed chairman and I take the role very seriously.’
A statement issued at 3pm yesterday detailed the plan for the PFA. Thomas Linden QC will lead an independent review that will be conducted by Sport Resolutions and will examine the ‘governance, management, policies, procedures and operations of the PFA’.
The statement said the management committee will oversee the review and will consider and publish the key findings and recommendations, with Taylor remaining in charge throughout the process. Further to that, a small steering group has been established to liaise with Sport Resolutions.
Once the review has been concluded, an independent process will begin to appoint a new CEO, after which Taylor, Purkiss and the management committee will step down at the AGM following the end of that process.
In the statement Taylor, who faced calls to resign from a group of more than 300 former and current professionals, said: ‘The end of 2018 was an extremely difficult period for the hardworking, excellent staff of the PFA.
‘It is true that, at times last year, members of the management committee did not see eye to eye on a number of issues but, following a series of meetings, we are now united on the best way forward.’
Purkiss added: ‘Last year I stated that the PFA need to evolve otherwise there is a risk we get left behind. I said publicly that we needed to review the governance of the organisation, and I welcome the fact that an independent review will now take place.’
A law graduate as well as a journeyman professional, Purkiss displayed immense bravery in taking on one of the most powerful figures in sport, who had long run the PFA like a personal fiefdom.
Purkiss complained that, for all the tens of millions of pounds sitting in the PFA’s bank accounts, the union had spent only £125,000 on funding head injury research.
After speaking to Sportsmail he said: ‘I have a duty to act in the best interests of the PFA. Sometimes you have to make a stand for what is right.’
Taylor claimed a technicality precluded Purkiss from remaining as chairman, but the latter fought back.
When that was followed by a series of revelations on these pages and an uprising led by former professionals including Robbie Savage and Craig Short, Taylor’s position looked increasingly untenable.
Sportsmail was first to report how the PFA could be in breach of trade union rules because Taylor had somehow avoided having to stand for re-election in almost four decades at the helm when the regulations demand an election every five years.
The scrutiny intensified. Concerns were raised by former players about financial advice they had received, in some cases potentially ruinous, from the PFA’s financial arm.
Sportsmail revealed that the union appeared to be in breach of Charity Commission rules when it emerged Paul Elliott had been allowed to remain a trustee when he had an IVA (individual voluntary arrangement). Elliott later resigned.
By then the Charity Commission had announced they had opened a regulatory compliance case into the PFA Charity.Daily Mail