Status: 01.02.2023 1:35 p.m

    With the signing of Enzo Fernández, Chelsea have set further transfer records. The Premier League club is now condemned to economic and sporting success.

    Chelsea will pay 121 million euros for Argentinian international Enzo Fernández in the coming years. The Premier League club has thus spent the gigantic sum of 611.49 million euros on new players in one season and set a historic all-time transfer high.

    The previous club transfer record was €370m (Manchester City, 2017/18 season). For comparison: All German Bundesliga clubs have a total of 555 million euros in the current 2022/23 season.

    Incredible transfer offensive

    Fernández is now the most expensive player in Premier League history, the most expensive midfielder overall and also the most expensive Argentinian footballer. The 22-year-old completes the London club’s unbelievable transfer offensive, which signed eight new players in the summer. Raheem Sterling, Kalidou Koulibaly and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, among others, came for a total of 282 million euros.

    In addition to Enzo Fernandez, eight other players followed in the winter transfer period for 329.5 million, such as Mykhaylo Mudryk, Benoît Badiashile, Noni Madueke and Andrey Santos.

    High risk depreciation trick

    The special thing about these winter transfers: the new owner of the club, the US investor company Clearland Capital Group, equipped Fernández and Co. with unusually long contracts. Fernández’ contract runs until 2031, as does Mudryk’s contract.

    This gives the club the opportunity to write off the transfer fees over as long a period as possible and thus spread the expenses. With a contract term of eight years, Fernández only spends a little more than 15 million euros per season.

    This depreciation ploy allows the club to comply with UEFA’s “rules of financial sustainability”, formerly known as Financial Fair Play. Especially since the “Blues” were also able to book transfer income of 70 million euros (including for Timo Werner), which has the advantage of being able to be booked in full immediately.

    However, the approach is not without risk. The long term of the contract means that the player in question does not lose his market value over the years and remains an “asset” of the club. In this respect, Chelsea’s club owners are moving in economically risky territory, especially since, in addition to the high personnel costs in the club, other major expenditures such as the conversion or new construction of the dilapidated stadium on London’s Stamford Bridge are pending.

    If a player leaves before the end of the contract, the transfer costs that have not yet been written off result in a “residual book value”, which is then due immediately with the current expenses. If there is any income from a transfer of the player to another club, this must be offset against the residual book value, resulting in a profit or a loss.

    Chelsea FC with huge financial leaps

    Chelsea had already moved huge sums of money on the transfer market in recent years – with different profit and loss jumps. In the 2021/2022 season, for example, the “Blues” actually made a large profit from player sales, despite the “flop” commitment of Romelu Lukaku (who came from Inter Milan for 110.7 million euros). Respected football financial analyst Swiss Ramble puts this at £160m – thanks in part to the departures of Tammy Abraham, Kurt Zouma, Fikayo Tomori and Marc Guehi.

    A bitter loss of €177m is on the books for the 2020/2021 season, partly due to the summer 2020 spending spree. At that time, Kai Havertz, Timo Werner, Ben Chilwell, Hakim Ziyech and Edouard Mendy moved to Stamford Bridge.

    Millions spent above UEFA limit

    For the 2022/2023 season there is likely to be a large minus in the financial books. The financial fair play spending limit was originally set at EUR 30 million over three years. In the course of the corona crisis and the associated loss of income, UEFA allowed a further 30 million euros in losses within these three years, reports “The Athletic”.

    From the 2023/24 season, the allowable loss limit will be doubled from €30 million to €60 million, including the 2022/23 season as the third year of the monitoring period. Thus, in the three years from 2021 to 2023, Chelsea even have 90 million in losses at their disposal.

    According to Swiss Ramble, before the Fernández deal, Chelsea FC was just above the permissible loss limit of 90 million euros with minus expenditures of 96 million euros in the three years to 2023. The losses should therefore be a case for UEFA according to the “rules of financial sustainability”.

    High return required

    Regardless, the club owners will not be satisfied with these losses in the long run. Unlike the owners of the sheikh clubs Manchester City or Paris St. Germain, for example, who play football primarily for image reasons, the investor group from the USA is about business and the highest possible returns.

    Chelsea must definitely bring them in in the coming years, at least this season things are not looking so good. As tenth in the Premier League, qualifying for the Champions League and the millions of euros that it brings is currently in serious jeopardy.