The financial might of the Premier League seems to increase every year, with clubs in the bottom half of the table regularly buying players for £10m+. Indeed, we quite often see relatively average players, or certainly unproven ones, move to new clubs for fees of £20m or more. However, even viewed through this lens, and considering that PL sides spent a record £2.8bn on transfers during the 2022/23 season (summer and January windows), Chelsea’s outlay has been startling.
Back in May 2022, Todd Boehly’s consortium purchased the Blues for more than £4bn and the new owners wasted no time in ringing the changes. Thomas Tuchel, Chelsea manager at the time, was backed in the transfer market but by September he was gone, with Brighton manager Graham Potter quickly installed as the new boss. If Chelsea’s transfer business during the summer window was lavish, their January signings have truly shocked the football world. But just how much money has the club spent since Boehly and co took over?
Chelsea signings under Todd Boehly
Note that we have taken fees from a single reputable source for all deals for the sake of consistency. These are quoted in Euros.
|Player||Signed From||Fee (Millions of Euros)|
|Mykhaylo Mudryk||Shakhtar Donetsk||€70|
|Raheem Sterling||Man City||€56.2|
|Noni Madueke||PSV Eindhoven||€35m|
|Carney Chukwumeka||Aston Villa||€18m|
|Andrey Santos||Vasco De Gama||€12.5m|
|David Datro Fofana||Molde||€12m|
|Joao Felix||Atletico Madrid||€11m (loan fee)|
|Denis Zakaria||Juventus||€3m (loan fee)|
In total the Blues brought in 16 new signings, excluding players such as Conor Gallagher, Armando Broja and others who either returned to the club from loans or were brought into the full squad from the junior groups at the club. They spent well over €600m, which is an insane outlay, especially as they had invested around €118m the season before and a massive €247m during 2020/21.
Fun fact: Chelsea have spent €600M this season.
But due to amortisation, they’ve only spent €75M, and have not violated a single FFP rule.
They’ve used that loophole like a bar of soap 😭😭😭 pic.twitter.com/PtMzwhAMLy
— IG: TheFootballRealm (@theftblrealm) February 1, 2023
There are many different ways to compare Chelsea’s €611.49m shopping spree and attempt to put it into some sort of context. We could compare it to the entire expenditure of La Liga during the same period, which was “just” €560m. Or we could note that it is more than Everton, Liverpool, Man City and Man United spent between them. Alternatively we could take a different tack entirely and point out that it is enough to pay the annual salary of 16,115 NHS nurses.
However one chooses to assess it, there is no doubt that this is spending on a level never seen before. Of course, the Blues have also let a number of players go, either on loan or permanent deals. But we should not forget that Chelsea won the Champions League in 2021 and so this was hardly a squad that, on the face of it, needed a thorough overhaul.
One might have reasonably argued that all they needed was a little sprinkling of class here and there and the odd upgrade to refresh the group. But instead, they spent over €600m on the most comprehensive season of transfer activity any club has ever embarked upon. Graham Potter now faces the impossible task of trying to keep a huge squad happy, and with the club languishing in 10th place in the PL table at the time of writing he clearly has a lot of work to do.
No way Chelsea spent over €600m in half a season just to end up trophyless and in 10th place😂😭 pic.twitter.com/HwnxbMJWrh
— Melv (@badboymelv) January 14, 2023
Chelsea have four goalkeepers, five centre backs and a dizzying array of options both in the middle of the pitch and up front. They have taken the notion of having two players to cover every position and virtually doubled it, operating with a bloated, yet star-packed, squad of 31.
It is too early to judge many of their signings, especially the eight arrivals that joined during the January window. However, some of the players brought in have barely played, whilst there are already huge question marks against the likes of Aubameyang and Sterling. Those are two of the older players brought in by the club though and most of the signings have been at the younger end of the market.
Resale Value Key?
Chelsea have long pursued a strategy of signing up young players with a view to either developing them for the first team or selling them on for a profit. Their extensive loan network has been criticized but some are suggesting that this latest round of signings is an extension of that.
Cucurella is the oldest of their four most-expensive signings at the grand old age of 24. Of the 16 players in the table above, 10 are 22 or younger, so there is a clear feeling that this heavy investment has at least one eye on the future. Chelsea will hope that their signings fulfil their potential and make it at the club but even if they don’t, most should retain a high sell-on value.
Integrating all of these players into a coherent footballing unit and a bonded team may be an impossible task. However, whilst the headline-grabbing €611m (around £583m) outlay is genuinely astounding, Chelsea may well view their new acquisitions as investments, rather than purchases.
Whether this gamble pays off, in terms of what happens on the pitch and off it, remains to be seen. In addition, critics say that activity such as this permanently distorts the whole transfer market for other clubs. This may well be true but this is certainly a couple of transfer windows that Chelsea fans won’t forget in a hurry. What’s more, they will be full of anticipation for the day that Potter, or whoever replaces him, gets all of these new signings to click.