Date published: Friday 11th September 2020 10:18
TEAMtalk takes a detailed look at how Chelsea have funded this season’s £200m-plus spending splurge.
After several years in hibernation, Chelsea are set to emerge as one of the biggest spenders in this summer’s Covid-infected transfer window. And despite the snipes from rivals supporters sceptical of how they are funding their spending spree, it is easy to explain why the west London club were in prime position to attack the transfer market ahead of the new Premier League.
In fact Jurgen Klopp has pointed the finger at the Blues and insisted Chelsea deem their financial future “less important” than other clubs.
With Timo Werner snapped up from RB Leipzig and Hakim Ziyech signed from Ajax earlier this summer, Chelsea stepped up their squad rebuild as England full-back Ben Chilwell was signed in a £50m deal with Leicester and Brazil captain Thiago Silva also joined Frank Lampard’s handsomely boosted Blues squad.
Now Bayer Leverkusen’s Kai Havertz has completed a move to west London, in a deal that is worth around €90m with a host of add-ons set to be paid if Chelsea achieves success in the coming years. Next, Rennes keeper Edouard Mendy is likely to be not too far behind.
It is a splurge of investment that could lead to questions over Chelsea’s ability to comply with UEFA’s Financial Fair Play rules and yet a study of Blues balance sheets suggests this is a transfer story that has been three years in the making.
Lampard accepted the job of Chelsea manager last July in the knowledge that he could not sign players due to the club’s transfer embargo, yet what lay in wait was always likely to offer compensation for what he warmed may be an uncomfortable first season as Blues boss.
Healthy Chelsea balance sheet
After Lampard defied his own public pessimism by guiding the club to a top-four finish and an appearance in the FA Cup final, his eagerness to embrace the club’s youthful performers last season has been replaced with an eagerness to build a team ready to challenge for honours.
The ongoing fall-out from Covid-19 crisis may have kicked a financial hole in the ambitions of a majority of clubs around Europe. Chelsea though were protected by a cash balance that ensured owner Roman Abramovich did not need to open his wallet to give Lampard a fantasy football wish list.
The exits of Eden Hazard to Real Madrid and Alvaro Morata to Atletico Madrid generated an income of around £153m, with the exit of academy product Mario Pasalic to Italian side Atalanta for £13.5m boosted the transfer income.
Tomas Kalas’s £8.1m move to Bristol City and the exit for David Luiz to Arsenal last summer added to the surplus on the Blues balance sheet, with the exit of additional fringe players bringing total income from player departures at Chelsea over the last year to a whopping £226.23m.
This can be seen as a triumph for the club’s policy of using their academy set-up as a sideline business, with players like Pasalic and Kalas being sold for big money along with Brazilian midfielder Nathan (£2.7m to Atletico Mineiro) and Kenneth Omeruo (£4.5m to Leganes).
They were deals that have helped to give Lampard a unique opportunity to put Chelsea back in the mix for the biggest trophies in the game, with the big-money signings of Werner, Ziyech, Chilwell, Thiago Silva and Havertz still leaving some excess cash in Lampard’s transfer pot from that initial budget.
Getting the players to gel in his line-up will be a challenge as history confirms that clubs signing a glut of high-profile players often struggle to fit all the pieces of a new-look jigsaw together, with Lampard believing he is merely playing catch-up on his rivals this summer.
“From having a transfer ban you feel we’ve missed where other clubs have spent and improved, and recruitment is a huge part of this game,” stated the Chelsea manager.
“It’s a very quick turnaround between last season and the new one, so now is the time to see where we can improve, what areas we can improve on.
“We lost the best player in the league in Eden Hazard and it is a case of using that money and some more from the sales of other players to get the right people into the club. It is a great chance for us to do something significant.”
With goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga surplus to requirements at Chelsea, doubts over the future of Jorginho and N’Golo Kante, as well as an expectation that striker Michy Batshuayi will leave, the money looks set to continue to roll from sales in the coming weeks.
Atletico Madrid keeper Jan Oblak and West Ham defender Declan Rice are also believed to be on Lampard’s wanted list and with that kind of financial backing behind them, Chelsea are likely to carry on spending.
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