Foot: Chelsea’s miraculous transfer window, an equation with a thousand unknowns

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With recruitments that have blithely exceeded 600 million euros this season, Chelsea has exploded all the counters but also raises an impressive number of questions about the economic and sporting viability of these investments.- Buying fever crisis -During the forced sale of the club last year, the former Russian owner Roman Abramovich had insisted that the future buyer undertake to maintain a high level of investment so that the Blues keep their standing. With 300 million euros spent this summer and the same amount this winter, by breaking the record for the biggest transfer in the Premier League (EUR 121 million paid out) for the Argentinian world champion Enzo Fernandez, the new owners, led by the American Todd Boehly, have certainly exceeded his expectations. The more or less well managed and anticipated summer departures of Andreas Christensen and Antonio Rüdiger in defense or Timo Werner and Romelu Lukaku in attack, as well as the b The long-term injuries of N’Golo Kanté, Reece James, Ben Chilwell, for example, did not help to prove themselves reasonable. But the negotiating skills of the new masters of Stamford Bridge really did not work wonders, except for the bank account of the selling clubs, Chelsea almost always paying the full price and well above the market for Wesley Fofana (80 M EUR), Marc Cucurella (65 M EUR), Mykhailo Mudryk (100 M EUR) or Enzo Fernandez. Even for the simple loan of Joao Félix for 6 months by Atlético Madrid, Chelsea had to offload 11 M EUR, to which must be added the 7 M EUR of salary covered, i.e. nearly 700,000 euros in cost. per match potentially played…- Accounting sleight of hand -While UEFA has been trying for years to curb the inflation of transfer fees with the implementation of Financial Fair Play (FPF), the compatibility of Chelsea’s investments with this one queries.Boehly and Clearlake, the investment fund estion that accompanies him at the head of the club, think they have found a beginning of parade by extending the duration of the contracts, which makes it possible to spread, in the accounts, the amortization of the indemnity over the entire duration of the contract, even if it is actually paid earlier. Fofana has thus signed until 2029, Badiashile until 2030, Fernandez and Mudryk until 2031… year of the sale, even if the payment is spread over time, it is less difficult to balance your accounts, as long as you do not pursue this policy for too long. The rules of the FPF will also become more flexible in the coming years, the cumulative loss authorized by UEFA over three financial years increasing from 30 to 60 M EUR from next season, or even to 90 M EUR if the club is deemed financially healthy by the authorities. similarly not easy for the Blues to comply, knowing that in addition, they will lose two x large sponsorship contracts for nearly 68 M EUR per year and which we will have to try to replace. sports bet… very risky -Despite all the financial and accounting creativity deployed by Chelsea, the verdict on the ground risks imposing itself quickly. Currently 10th in the Premier League, 10 points from the top 4, the Blues will have very difficult to seek qualification for the lucrative Champions League. Without the associated income, while 42 players are currently under contract, the next recruitment windows could above all be conditioned on departures which risk bringing in much less, image of some EUR 60m recovered from four main sales this season. given the sums involved. The length of the contracts signed could quickly become a prison for both the players and the club if the services or the playing time are not those expected, and the management of the locker room would prove to be very delicate.

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