Chelsea hit with financial blow ahead of transfer window as Abramovich faces tough choice

Chelsea have suffered a financial setback ahead of the summer transfer window, potentially casting doubt over their plans for a squad overhaul. The Blues were looking to strengthen in a number of key areas but may consider scaling back investment after reporting a loss last season.

Chelsea are the only ‘big six’ Premier League club to report an operating loss in 2018/19, according to Deloitte’s annual review of football finance.

The study shows the Blues were lagging behind their top-flight rivals financially over the previous campaign, with the Stamford Bridge outfit posting a deficit of £2million.

In contrast, Football.London calculate that the other five top clubs collectively generated a £566m operating profit.

This accounts for approximately two thirds of the total profit posted by all 20 Premier League clubs.

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It should be noted that these figures exclude profit on player trading, amortisation of player transfer fees and finance costs.

Chelsea were struggling so much compared to their rivals because of “marginal revenue growth (one per cent), a reduction in profits achieved on sale of players (from £113m to £60m) and the largest increases among Premier League clubs in both wage costs (£69m) and amortisation of player registrations (£44m).

The Blues’ wages-to-turnover ration of 70 per cent is the highest among their direct rivals and sits nine per cent above the Premier League average.

And the wage bill at Stamford Bridge is third-highest in the division, just £1m behind Manchester City.

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Furthermore, Chelsea’s debt to owner Roman Abramovich rose by another £228m last season – taking the overall total up to £1.4bn.

And the club’s finances are likely to take another hit this term with such uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus crisis.

But the lack of spending both last summer and in January will have helped to balance the books this time around, combined with Eden Hazard’s departure to Real Madrid.

However, Chelsea are obviously far from self-sufficient so their expected transfer spending spree in the coming weeks will once again be funded by Abramovich as well as any player sales.


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The Russian must decide whether he wants to continue sinking money into the club and back Lampard’s revolution, having already agreed to shell out over £80m on Hakim Ziyech and Timo Werner.

Ben Chilwell could cost as much as £80m on his own while Kai Havertz is also expected to cost upwards of £70m.

These two players appear to be the priority signings who are next on Chelsea’s radar, but a centre-back and a new goalkeeper could also be targeted.

Atletico Madrid are expected to take up their £48.5m option on Alvaro Morata while Tiemoue Bakayoko, Michy Batshuayi and Emerson Palmieri are just some o the senior players expected to leave this summer in order to raise funds.

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