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In two years, Chelsea spent more than one billion euros on players. When will this bubble burst?

Date: May 22, 2024 Time: 10:26:28

May 30 marks two years since the £4.25bn sale of Chelsea to a US consortium led by investor Todd Bowley. In the first season, under the leadership of the new owners, the renewed team (the club spent 611.4 million euros on new players) took only 12th place. This season, spending in two transfer windows amounted to 467, 8 million euros, but this did not help the Blues to shoot either. With a month to go until the end of the Premier League season, Mauricio Pochettino’s team languishes in ninth place with the prospect of reaching European competition only if they win the FA Cup (through the championship it is also possible, but given the competition and the results of the season, is unlikely). The chances of this happening are slim: Manchester City awaits Chelsea in the semi-finals. And today the Londoners will face Everton.

Chelsea has one of the most inflated salary masses in the Premier League

Chelsea’s parent company Blueco 22 Ltd posted a £90m loss in early April, with the wage bill rising from £340.2m in 2022 to £404m in 2023. Only the Manchester City pays its players more – 423 million pounds, and this amount includes bonuses for the treble. In addition, the Londoners paid a record £205 million in depreciation and amortization charges in Premier League history, which will only increase when the contracts of Moisés Caicedo, Cole Palmer and Axel Disasi are included in next season’s results. .

It is also important to note that over the past year, Chelsea paid agents more than any other Premier League club – £75.1 million. In second place in terms of payments is City (£60.6 million), third place is occupied by Manchester United (£34 million). This type of spending by Les Bleus could be considered the norm if they were league champions or kings of Europe. But now Chelsea is too far from the level that allowed the team to instill fear in the giants and relatively recently take the trophy from the “ears”: in 2021, the club still owned by billionaire Roman Abramovich won the Champions League.

Chelsea paid 116 million euros for Moisés Caicedo

Photo: Visionhaus/Getty Images

The current stalemate is like a bubble that cannot inflate forever, and it is not just about the owners’ ability to continue pouring billions of pounds into Stamford Bridge. This summer, the Premier League’s controversial profitability and sustainability rules (PSR) will be replaced by a new financial regulation system that will equalize the cost-to-income ratio of teams as set out in the Premier League’s Financial Sustainability Regulations (FSR). UEFA. Ultimately, these rules will limit clubs: they will not be able to spend more than 70% of their income on salaries, transfers, etc.

This season, Chelsea managed to mitigate financial losses due to the sale of hotel buildings on the territory of Stamford Bridge to its subsidiary Blueco 22 Properties Ltd – the club earned £76.5 million, but in the future the Premier League will not participate. take into account the sale of cash assets to related companies when studying financial fair play. “A few years ago we saw Reading, Birmingham, Derby County, Sheffield United and a few other clubs selling properties to their owners to try to gain an accounting advantage,” says football finance specialist Kieran Maguire.

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Chelsea will have to sell 12 players due to new financial rules in the Premier League

Bowley continues to hold his head high, but lately the American has been hiding more and more from the public. “The club continues to combine success on the field with the demands of meeting UEFA and Premier League financial regulations. The club has met these requirements since its inception in 2012 and hopes to do so for the foreseeable future,” Todd dryly commented recently. Meanwhile, according to The Times, to fit into the framework, Chelsea will probably have to sell players for a significant amount before the end of June.

The publication claims that Chelsea will soon part with at least 12 players, including Conor Gallagher, Hakim Ziyech, Trevo Chalobah, Jan Matsen, Romelu Lukaku, Armando Broya, Kepa Arrizabalaga, Lewis Hall, Marc Cucurella, Thiago Silva, Malang Sarr and Lukas. Bergstrom. The fallen ballast today may be an advantage for the club, but it will not be possible to get much out of these players: Chelsea’s crisis is too deep, which will affect the transfer value of the players.

Of the footballers that make up the system, only Cole Palmer has increased his price recently, as he did not want to wait for his opportunity at Manchester City. It is likely that he will one day return to the Etihad, but there is now no doubt that without this talent the depth of Chelsea’s decline would be even greater.

Cole Palmer is the main talent of the Londoners

Photo: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

To move forward, Chelsea bosses must admit the mistakes they made: they bought players in batches, which is why there were sometimes five or six people for one place in the team. Why sign Benoit Badiashile in January last year when they already had promising left centre-back Levi Colville, who had earned rave reviews during his time on loan at Brighton? Why did they spend money on Leslie Ugochukwu last summer when they already had Fernandez, Casadei and Santos and were about to sign Caicedo and Lavia, not to mention Gallagher? How could Hall and Matsen give in if the left back continues to be a problem?

At the same time, it is notable that many players who left Chelsea in recent years have performed well at other clubs. Jorginho and Kai Havertz at Arsenal, Marc Guehi at Crystal Palace, Antonio Rudiger at Real Madrid, Fikayo Tomori, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Christian Pulisic at Milan. This raises additional questions about Chelsea’s strategy, both before and after the club’s takeover by an American consortium.

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But there is another way to see the reality of Chelsea. Yes, the Londoners have wasted a lot of money, but they have built a squad that contains exceptional talent. Palmer has been a revelation, Enzo Fernandez is 23, a World Cup winner and his performances are in no way the root of Chelsea’s problems. Caicedo’s skills are undeniable and Disasi and Colville improve with each match. Chelsea certainly have a core of players.

In elite football, especially among high-income elite clubs, there are many ways to achieve success. At the height of the Abramovich era, Chelsea had spending power, an outstanding structure and some of the best managers in the world. Splurge and PSR mean Chelsea’s spending power has diminished. After Abramovich, there was a complete change in the top management of the club – these people have not yet proven themselves.

At Tottenham, Pochettino managed to take Son, Kane and other players to a new level

Photo: TF-Images/Getty Images

Of all these paths, Chelsea only has one left. The composition is already formed and the solution is simple. Mauricio Pochettino must work with these young players and achieve success. This is not an easy task. Their traditional Big Six rivals have greater spending power thanks to the PSR, while ambitious new projects such as Aston Villa and Newcastle have emerged on the Premier League map. It is a more competitive Premier League than ever, but on an individual level Chelsea have the advantage.

Pochettino is a coach who has experience in taking young players to the next level on a shoestring budget. During his five years at Tottenham, the construction of a new stadium often left the Argentine without significant funds. Dele Alli’s development is the coach’s calling card, and he has also helped improve the performances of Harry Kane, Eric Dier and Heung-Min Son. This was the core of players that took the team to the Champions League final.

Then no one put pressure on Pochettino, but now he doesn’t have enough time. And for the club – development strategies. Everything is very similar to the problems that Manchester United is experiencing after the departure of Sir Alex Ferguson. Chelsea needs to find her own characteristic, an element through which she can show her uniqueness. So far, the club’s owners see the only path to progress as a crazy and often irresponsible investment of money. The introduction of the PSR will force us to reconsider this strategy and look for more sophisticated forms of development. Unless, of course, this bubble bursts and the club has to be sold again.

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Puck Henry
Puck Henry
Puck Henry is an editor for ePrimefeed covering all types of news.
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