Over the past 3 years, Chelsea Football Club have made steps to become a self- funding business. The days of Mr Abramovich’s excessive spending in the early days of his takeover are now long gone. They have come a long way and now have one of the best academies in the world producing bundles of talent year upon year. The talented youth who have come through the ranks are now enabling the club to sell these players to fund incoming transfers. The club does fantastic business when selling its players, mostly down to Marina Granovskaia who is well known for being a hard negotiator. Having a tough stance negotiator when you are the selling club works well, as in most cases the selling club has the power. However, when Chelsea FC are the club looking to buy its targets, does it make sense to have such a stubborn negotiator doing the deals?
Antonio Conte came across as a very frustrated figure in his recent pre match press conference. He seems to have now accepted that he can not control which players the club brings in or when they decide to bring them in. There is also a sense of the man who everybody adores being on the verge of desperate for new signings. When questioned about Diego Costa, his response was laughter, but his body language seemed more that of a man who was on the verge of tears.
The media are making one common mistake in my opinion when it comes to reporting on Chelsea’s transfer business thus far. People seem to be reporting we have spent big, but as Antonio hinted at in his presser, when you take into account who and what has been sold in the last 2 windows it paints a very different picture.
If you do your research, this window Chelsea have a net spend of £15M. With the likes of Nemanja Matic, Nathan Ake and Juan Cuadrado sold, this has helped Chelsea bring in the likes of Alvaro Morata, Antonio Rudiger and Tiemoue Bakayoko. But if we go back to this January and include the sale of Oscar and the releasing of Mikel and Ivanovic it could be argued that Chelsea are still in a position of profit. This is very good business from the club, but if you look at how Financial Fair Play is hardly in existence, and you look at what other European and Premier League clubs have been spending, it becomes very obvious that there should, in theory be a significant amount of money still sitting in the bank waiting to be spent.
Then if we take into account the Premier League prize money (£150M) and the new Nike sponsorship deal, added in with the Yokohoma Tyres and Carabao deals (totalling £110M) it is more than clear that the club have got plenty left to spend. With the sale of Diego Costa to come it becomes clear that Chelsea are more than capable of spending £150M+ this summer without battering an eyelid. So the question that remains is will the board spend this money?
In the past in regards to transfers, there seems to be an unnoticed obsession within the club in regards to being very hesitant to over pay for any player, no matter their quality. This dates back to the days where we were linked to Sergio Aguero every transfer window until we eventually got beaten to him by Manchester City. Aguero had a release clause in his contract and I still ask questions about why we didn’t sign him when we could have. I think the board have been scarred by their past transfer business, specifically the Andrey Shevchenko and Fernando Torres deals where both players were disappointing on the pitch. It seems these deals have made the club more and more hesitant when it comes to paying top money for the big player.
Another question that needs answering is a problem that has been highlighted due to the current suspension and injury problems in the squad. The question being, why have the club sold in so many positions before buying a ready made replacement first? In any line of business, it is pure stupidity to let employees go without having a replacement either ready, or ready to join a few days later. It has been more than 2 weeks since Matic and Chalobah departed the club, and now we have been left with a midfield crisis ahead of our game with Spurs this Sunday.
It really surprises me due to Antonio Conte’s so called obsession with “work” on the training pitch that the board have not given him many players to “work” with. If we make a new signing now it could be a month until we see them because of Conte liking to educate his players about every detail of what he likes done on the pitch.
Surely the club must have 2 seasons ago firmly in their minds and if I were a board member I would be determined to prove a point to my fans that I have learnt from my mistakes and am doing everything within my power to prevent the same mistakes happening again. It just seems the board have not sent out a clear message that eases tensions that are rising due to two back to back defeats. However, much Antonio says the board are “working very hard”, it would be very nice to have a breakthrough from all this hard work through securing quality signings.
I think every fan like myself can say we are all eternally grateful for Mr Abramovich and his colleagues who have all done so much and brought so much success to a club who when he bought it was on the verge of collapse. However, to see another repeat of what has happened so many times would be truly heart breaking. Antonio Conte is loved as much if not more than the first time Jose Mourinho walked through the door. To let this man go because of board inefficiencies would be disastrous.
It is clear for all to see, the board are firmly in the spotlight and it is now down to them to perform. There is a feeling in the air that the next 13 days will not only dictate how this season goes, but also will give us an idea about whether we will ever see a Chelsea manager who goes past 3 seasons at the club. The 1st of September is D-Day, judgement day and all the rest. There may be a hiding place for the likes of Mr Emenalo right now, but in 2 weeks’ time, there certainly won’t be if the window closes and the fans are not satisfied.
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