Premier League: Unprecedented shopping spree: Will Chelsea take over?

Premier League: Unprecedented shopping spree: Will Chelsea take over?

Since the takeover by US entrepreneur Todd Boehly, Chelsea has been spending large sums on new players. The Blues set another record in new signing Enzo Fernández. How can this go well?

Chelsea FC’s record shopping spree amazed the European competition – and caused clear criticism. The Londoners paid a staggering 121 million euros for the 22-year-old Argentinian world champion Enzo Fernández from Benfica Lisbon.

Never before had a British football club paid so much for a player.

Record amount already in the summer

This increases the sum of the transfer expenses of the Londoners, who brought a total of eight players this January, to the equivalent of more than 320 million euros.

Already in the summer – after the takeover of the club by a consortium led by US businessman Todd Boehly – Chelsea set a record in the Premier League and spent more than 300 million euros on new players. The more than 600 million euros this season is more money than all Bundesliga clubs have spent this season combined.

Chelsea’s approach is not well received by the next Champions League opponent. “Very wild” is the behavior of the Londoners, criticized Borussia Dortmund’s sports director Sebastian Kehl on the pay TV channel Sky. “Money is not an issue there,” he said even before Fernández’s signing was complete. “We just have to earn our money in a different way here. That’s why we are not able to implement such transfers.”

The Chelsea Method

The Blues’ unprecedented shopping offensive raises questions: How does this square with the financial rules of the Premier League and UEFA? Why is Chelsea doing this? How risky is that?

According to the statutes of the Premier League, a club can lose the equivalent of around 120 million euros over a period of three years. Anyone who exceeds this sum must expect penalties. The European Football Union UEFA stipulates that a club – put simply – may spend a maximum of 60 million euros more than it earns over a period of three years. And that only on condition that the club owner pays for it.

In order to comply with this regulation, Chelsea uses a clever trick. The unusually long contract terms of the newcomers are striking. Fernández was signed for eight and a half years. The Ukrainian Mykhailo Mudryk, whose initial transfer fee of 70 million euros could increase to 100 million euros through bonus payments, had previously also signed a contract that is valid until the end of June 2031. The reason for this is that the expenses in Chelsea’s books can be spread out over eight years. This reduces the association’s annual costs.

Fernández would only have to pay about 14 million euros a year – if at all. According to the Daily Mail, after tough negotiations with Benfica, Chelsea agreed to pay in three installments over the next two years. Similar agreements are likely to have existed with other newcomers since last summer. Professionals like the long-term injured Wesley Fofana or Benoît Badiashile also have permanent contracts.

The coffers at Chelsea are full

In addition, Chelsea lost well-known players in the past year. Professionals like Timo Werner (RB Leipzig), Tammy Abraham (AS Roma), Kurt Zouma (West Ham United) or most recently Jorginho, who switched to league competitor Arsenal, brought in income that was booked immediately. The farewell to Hakim Ziyech, whose planned move to PSG failed due to missing documents, will probably be completed in the summer. British media recently also speculated about a possible farewell to German national player Kai Havertz.

The successes of the recent past – especially winning the Champions League and the Club World Cup under ex-coach Thomas Tuchel – flushed money into Chelsea’s coffers. While Chelsea lags behind many of their competitors in terms of spectator income due to the comparatively low capacity of the Stamford Bridge stadium, the Blues are raking in a lot of TV money.

Unlike former club owner, Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich, new owner Todd Boehly has indicated that he would rather swap players than coach. He initially replaced Tuchel with his dream coach Graham Potter, because he is said to represent a new philosophy in the club. But now the US entrepreneur, who is not short of money, is making the big change and significantly rejuvenating the Chelsea squad.

It’s not sporty

The Chelsea method is not without risk. Under Potter, the Blues have so far underperformed, falling out of the FA Cup and League Cup. They are doomed to win in the Premier League table, where they are currently tenth, ten points adrift of a place in the Champions League. A place in the top four for the renewed qualification for the premier class is mandatory if the balance sheet is to remain balanced in the coming years. Otherwise, transfer activities will have to be drastically reduced from the summer. The pressure on Potter increases tremendously.

Those responsible in Lisbon don’t care. Benfica is happy about a more than lucrative business. Fernández, who was honored as the best young player in Argentina’s World Cup success in Qatar, had only been brought from River Plate last summer – for the paltry sum of around 11 million euros in retrospect. They should also be reasonably satisfied with the traditional club from Buenos Aires: River Plate should receive a quarter of the transfer fee, around 30 million euros.

Source: Stern

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