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A financially conscious Chelsea?
After the surprising departures of Raul Meireles and Michael Essien, most Chelsea fans voiced their disbelief after letting such key squad players go without replacing them.
It has left Chelsea with John Obi Mikel and Frank Lampard as the only centre midfielders, that Chelsea have started during the last six months, at their disposal. It has left them slightly light in that department. So why?
It was said that Yossi Benayoun was only allowed to leave Chelsea for West Ham, as the club could only afford to allow the east London club to just pay half of the Israeli’s wages, after they had shifted Michael Essien off their wage books. It was the first time in a good while there was a consciousness about the club’s financial status. This has been followed by a £10m fee for Meireles and also another high earner off the books.
Is this Chelsea starting to work towards breaking even? Yes they spent £80m this summer. An amount that wouldn’t have been possible without last year’s success. They started the summer spending but also let the likes of Didier Drogba, Salomon Kalou and Jose Bosingwa run down their contracts. The three would have earned in excess of £100,000 if Benayoun was earning £92,000. It was publicly known also that Chelsea’s Champions League hero Drogba shared top earnings at the club with John Terry and Frank Lampard on £180,000.
The three exits were followed by Chelsea trying to get Florent Malouda off the wage bill. It must be a significant amount as a move to Brazil was scuppered by ‘huge wage demands’. It has been touted that Chelsea could pay Malouda off a large amount (but not 12 months worth) to save a small percentage now. Chelsea weren’t going to sell any players but they have allowed over 15 players to move away on loan. How many of them have their wages paid by Chelsea or their current clubs would be speculating but the pure volume of players may be down to saving on the wages of players in the U21 and academy team. Thorgan Hazard was bought ‘to help his brother settle’ if reports are to be believed but was soon sent out on loan. He was bought for a minimal fee so why then send him out?
The window closed and all of the business had been done. Essien and Benayoun had left. The squad wasn’t too big or too small but then Chelsea do sell a player in Meireles, like him or not, he played a key role in Chelsea’s cup success. A fee reported to be in the region of £10m as well as another £100,000+ player off the books.
Chelsea despite the late departures have had a great summer. They have also saved around £40m in players’ wages with another £10m from the sale of Meireles. They have spent in a number of areas and probably have a young player who could take over in the next few of years in each position. Something they didn’t have two years ago. There would be no reason to spend big next summer and Chelsea may (hopefully after another successful year) edge towards being able to confirm a profit in the new few years.
Soon after hearing Meireles was leaving news broke that Hulk – a frequently reported Chelsea target was making a move to Russia for £40m. The same amount FC Porto demanded of the European Champions. They never paid it. People are already talking about a January move for Falcao but on the evidence of the last few days that looks very unlikely. So is this the sign of a financially conscious Chelsea?