A lot has already been written about Chelsea’s transfer business over the last two windows.
I have never seen anything like it before.
The long term contracts are normal in baseball, a sport Todd Boehly has been involved nin for over a decade. He has basically taken the way things work in America and applied it to football.
If it works, it will change the way every football team operates. If it doesn’t, Chelsea are going to end up with a lot of underperforming players on long term contracts.
One aspect rarely mentioned is that during the takeover, the consortium Boehly is part of had to commit to investing £1.75 billion over 10 years into the club. It is this investment that is freeing up the cash to make these transfer, the fees then amortised over the length of the contracts for accounting purposes.
One risk Boehy is taking is over squad size.
As it stands, Chelsea have 37 “senior” players, including those out on loan. Arsenal have 30.
They also do not look like slowing down their spending and are being linked with Moisés Caicedo and Marcus Thuram, and with a deal for Christopher Nkunku agreed for the summer.
They are going to have to release sell or loan out a lot of players during the back-end of this window and throughout the next just to ensure they do not end up with double figures of unregistered players.
On paper, bringing their squad numbers down does not quite look as difficult as it seems.
Of the 39 players contracted to the club (included Nkunku):
2 have their loan deals expiring
4 have their contracts expiring
At least 8 look surplus to requirements
If they decided to not renew any of the deals expiring, and were able to shift the 8 players listed above, it would take their squad size down to 26.
With many of them not needed to be registered due to being U21, they would have squad space to make further additions.
But selling (or loaning) those players comes at a risk.
Any loan deals will see Chelsea still paying a huge chunk of the salaries. Clubs will know the players need to be dumped and will take advantage of that.
Likewise, the likes of Romelu Lukaku and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang are unlikely to be sold unless Chelsea are willing to take a huge loss on their transfers.
If they can not sell or loan enough players, they will end up looking at cashing in on Kai Havertz, Cristian Pulisic, Raheem Sterling and others. Players they do not really want rid of but would be fairly easy to move on.
If they can move on everyone they need to, it will see around 14 players depart, with 14 bought in over 3 windows. That is tough for any manager to integrate.
Chelsea’s transfer behaviour is due to how poorly they have been run over the last few years.
Too many ageing players whose contracts expired, and too many big money replacements have flopped. They have needed this huge investment to re-address their squad issues.
What they now need is all of their new signings to “bang”. Any of that doesn’t they will be stuck with for a long time…
Boring, Boring Newcastle
Newcastle have kept 7 clean sheets in the 8 games since the return of football. A fantastic achievement.
But they have only scored 1 goal in their last 4 Premier League games – an 84th minute winner against Fulham.
3rd in the league is sensational for a small club like them.
Even when you take into account the money spent – and it really has not been that much – what Eddie Howe has done is incredible.
But the way he has done it is not so impressive, and beginning to get exposed.
Howe sets his team up to stop opponents, to waste time, to spoil the game, and to win free kicks and set plays.
The fact 3 sides have been sanctioned by the FA when playing Newcastle shows just how much they are set up to frustrate and ruin the game.
And it is not just the XI on the field that get involved. Coaches and substitutes have been booked on numerous occasions for trying to slow down the game.
And this style of ply is slowly catching up with them as lesser sides begin to realise they are not a threat going forward.
It is all well and good coming away from the Emirates with a 0-0, but failing to beat or score against Crystal Palace or Leeds United just isn’t top 4 form.
Their time-wasting tactics will be to their own disadvantage as we get to the stage of the season where teams need to win, not draw, games.
Wishing to be Everton
“Be careful what you wish for”.
Some Arsenal fans cried like babies when Farhad Moshiri sold his minority share in Arsenal and bought Everton. It would be the end of us as a top club and turn Everton into title challengers.
With his departure, they also thought this would be the end of Alshir Usmanov’s links with Arsenal, and the Uzbecki would plow his billions into Liverpool’s second club.
Part of that proved right as 2 years later KSE bought our Usmanov’s shares to take 100% ownership of the club.
But Usmanov’s money did not appear in Everton, other than in a training sponsorship deal.
Despite the lack of obvious Usmanov funds, Everton would begin to spend big (note: prior to the take over they have never spent more than €50m):
Over €500m spent over 5 years.
On 21 December 2019, they appointed the great Carlow Ancelotti as manager. The day before we appointed Mikel Arteta into his first managerial role.
A serial winner versus a managerial virgin. Against the Arsenal-incels shed tears into their used Kleenex.
Why didn’t we appoint Ancelotti? With Moshri (and Usmanov’s) money and him in charge, they will be title challengers!
In 2020, they then recruited James Rodriguez, Abdoulaye Doucoure and Allan. 3 players some Arsenal fans wanted us to sign. This will be the year they finish above us!
Everton finished 10th and Ancelotti quit to return to Real Madrid.
The next season, investment dropped to €58m. 70% less spent on players than the peak of 2017.
Last summer they spent €78.2m, but the names of Onana, McNeil, Maupay and Garner were not exactly Rodriguez…
And now they are 19th in the table, whilst Arsenal are top of the league.
Moshri and Ancelotti or Kroenke and Arteta. Be careful what you wish for.