Thomas Tuchel had summer signings worth nearly £150m to call on to help secure Chelsea’s 1-0 victory over Everton in their Premier League opener of the season, but he doesn’t think clearly not enough.
“If we can add, we add,” he told Sky Sports afterwards. “Maybe not necessarily midfielders as the first option, but we’re open to anything and I think we can use new energy, new legs and new input to take us to a new level.
“If not, we will push this team but I think we could use a bit of input and more quality. We’re on it but we won’t tell you (who)!”
In truth, the names are not really a secret. Chelsea are in the process of making a bid for Leicester City defender Wesley Fofana and have had a few offers turned down already. The suggestion is that it will cost around £85million, around the sum Manchester United had to pay Leicester for Harry Maguire in 2019, to get the centre-back.
It will take around £70million to acquire Frenkie de Jong, should he resolve his salary dispute with Barcelona and opt to move to London over Manchester United, which would be the midfielder’s preference. Then there is interest in strikers Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Benjamin Sesko, as well as Inter Milan right-back Denzel Dumfries.
Given the course of the last few months, the emergence of other targets cannot be ruled out, especially if the movements mentioned above do not materialize. By the September 1 deadline, it is highly likely that Chelsea’s new co-owners will have broken the club’s record for money spent on signings (set two years ago when they paid over £200m). pounds) in a single window.
If you consider Chelsea also shelled out an extra £23.3m (excluding add-ons) for youngsters Carney Chukwuemeka and Gabriel Slonina, bringing their total for the summer to over £160m, you can understand why some people might ask how the club can afford all this in the age of Financial Fair Play. So far, they’ve only brought in £6.9million on the loan fee which saw Romelu Lukaku return to Inter Milan.
Chelsea’s latest financial results showed they suffered a loss of £145.6million for the year to June 30, 2021 and their wage bill was one of the highest in the game at £333million of pounds sterling.
However, football finance expert Kieran Maguire isn’t worried. “I’m actually pretty relaxed about Chelsea,” he said. Athleticism. “I know they’ve had big losses in the past, but they can say COVID has impacted a few seasons. They have sold more players than anyone, they are the biggest revenue generators (example provided by the Twitter account of football company Swiss Ramble, which explained that in five years through 2020, Chelsea have made £434m from sales. The next highest were Liverpool at £276m and Everton at £208m).
“The situation has changed. Just as fans shouldn’t have worried about not buying enough players a few weeks ago, they shouldn’t have worried about player sales now. It will happen.”
What’s happening right now, the number of players Chelsea are interested in or have made offers for, is similar to Roman Abramovich’s first transfer window in 2003. The club ended up spending £111.25m sterling for 10 players, including Claude Makelele, Damien Duff and Hernan Crespo.
Using a football inflation calculator designed by Maguire, one can work out the approximate value of this expense in today’s money. The formula only works through 2019, but it says spending in 2003 would have cost £360.6m by now. Using Inflationtool.com to update it, it suggests that £360.6m in 2019 now equals £406.3m. Chelsea also didn’t raise much money from sales that summer, with the majority of players leaving for free.
It helps to put things into perspective that Chelsea have been down this road before. People will naturally point to how Abramovich agreed to write off £1.6billion of debt the club owed him when he sold him in May and wonder if this is history repeating itself, that a wealthy benefactor will make big losses from the start.
However, Maguire adds: “Historically, while Chelsea are the biggest spender in the Premier League, they have also generated the most money from player sales over the years. Last season you saw Fikayo Tomori and Tammy Abraham to go to Italy (AC Milan and Roma respectively for £59m) When academy players like them leave for big bucks, it’s pure profit.
“When you sign players, you spread the cost over the length of the contract. So if Chelsea spend £300m this summer, the amortized cost per year will probably only be around £50-60m. They made a bigger profit than last summer (Romelu Lukaku’s £97.5m fee amortized over five years, while sales topped £100m). People also focus only on the money paid out and ignore the fact that the FFP is based on a three-year assessment period.
“It took me by surprise because I didn’t think Boehly-Clearlake would go down this route – to spend, spend, spend. To put it into context and with the help of an inflation calculator I found, the first year under Roman was indeed worth a lot more. Granted, that was in the pre-FFP era, but it won’t be excessive by Chelsea standards.
Chelsea intend to downsize the squad drastically over the next three weeks. For example, Marcos Alonso is expected to leave for Barcelona soon, while Timo Werner, Malang Sarr and Hakim Ziyech are also expected to leave. Leipzig are set to re-sign Werner on a permanent deal.
Sources say one of the problems Chelsea face is that due to the generous terms Lukaku was allowed to leave on, clubs are hoping to secure similar offers for unwanted or disgruntled staff. With Chelsea unhappy with the numbers being discussed, it’s no wonder departures have been at a minimum so far. It became a bit of a waiting game as the deadline approached.
While Maguire is optimistic about Chelsea’s financial situation, he insists on the need for more exits than has taken place so far.
“They have to do it anyway, otherwise they’ll end up with a bloated squad,” he added. “Provided these players are willing to play ball, maybe take a pay cut like Lukaku did to go somewhere else or Chelsea give them a financial incentive to leave, then it can be done.”
Chelsea’s performance at Everton wasn’t the most exciting. But all of their moves in the market during the rest of the window are certainly worth watching.
(Top photo: Michael Regan/Getty Images)