Todd Boehly is continuing to splash the cash as he tries to help Chelsea climb up the Premier League table in what has been a tough season under Graham Potter, with Noni Madueke the latest body through the door.
It’s been an incredibly busy January transfer window for Chelsea as they have already signed six players this month – and there is still a week to go until it slams shut.
At an average age of just over 20, it’s clear the Blues are going for a different approach to previous years and are building for the future rather than the present. Their spending so far this month has equated to nearly 39 per cent of all Premier League expenditure in January.
Todd Boehly has invested heavily in the Chelsea squad so far in the January transfer window
Mykhailo Mudryk has been the headline signing, costing the club a whopping £88.6million
The move comes after three years of not spending a penny in the winter window.
Of course, the club had to deal with an embargo under Frank Lampard, which will have contributed to that. And It’s not massively common that big deals are done in January anyway.
But it is unusual not to spend money three Januarys in a row. Boehly invested nearly £250million on players such as Raheem Sterling, Marc Cucurella and Wesley Fofana in the summer, and he’s gone hard again this month.
He may have a different method of doing business, but he’s certainly doing that business – although his way of working has caught the eye of UEFA bigwigs.
Chelsea have been able to splurge on players and stay within FFP rules by spreading out the cost of the signings over long contracts. Ukrainian winger Mykhailo Mudryk was given the longest deal in Premier League history when he signed for eight-and-a-half years following his £88.6 move from Shakhtar Donetsk.
But UEFA are set to close that loophole following complaints from a number of top-flight clubs.
New Chelsea boss Graham Potter (centre) has been backed massively by Boehly this month
According to FIFA statutes, clubs are only permitted to give players contracts of up to five years, but Chelsea have been routinely handing out far longer deals this season.
Chelsea have got round FIFA’s restrictions by registering the additional years in each player’s contract as a club-triggered option to extend, but some of their Premier League rivals are convinced this is really a ruse to circumnavigate FFP.
How Abramovich changed the spending patterns
Roman Abramovich took over Chelsea in 2003 and almost immediately ignited new life in a club struggling for a sense of direction.
Rival fans often mock the Blues, suggesting they were founded in 2003 as a reference to the money the Russian injected into the club.
But supporters won’t mind too much considering the five Premier League titles and two Champions Leagues were won under Abramovich’s leadership.
Roman Abramovic joined Chelsea in 2003 and injected several millions into the club
The Blues went onto win five Premier League titles and two Champions Leagues under him
In the two winter windows prior to Abramovich’s arrival Chelsea didn’t spend at all.
Lampard had arrived in the summer of 2001 in a total expenditure that eclipsed £43.5million, the third highest in the league, but the summer of 2022 their outlay was zeo.
Looking back, that contributed to three transfer windows in a row without any money going into the playing squad in terms of playing budget.
Then came Roman.
Hernan Crespo (centre) was among the cohort that joined the club in the summer of 2023
Claude Makelele and Damien Duff also arrived for sizeable transfer fees in summer 2003
The Blues splashed out a sensational £136.3million in the summer of 2023, Abramovich’s first window, on players such as Hernan Crespo, Damien Duff and Claude Makelele.
They then started to spend in January. It wasn’t loads, but Scott Parker arrived in the winter of 2004, and three years in a row money was spent in the winter, a sight Chelsea fans weren’t used to.
Before they knew it, Jose Mourinho was in charge and they had their first Premier League title.
Joe Mourinho (centre) helped Chelsea win their first ever Premeir League in 2004/2005
A look back over the years
The January windows were up and down for Chelsea under Abramovich. Again, clubs don’t always spend, but will if they have to.
After a positive but tender beginning to spending in January windows, big money eventually went out.
The £30.3million spent on Branislav Ivanovic, Nicolas Anelka and Franco di Santo in 2008 equated for 16.6per cent of the league’s total outgoings as money started to creep into the league and, after two Januarys of spending nothing in 2009 and 2010, the £51.3million and £21.9million shelled out on Fernando Torres and David Luiz respectively in 2011 was a staggering 31.2 per cent of all the money spent in the league that window.
|Year||Chelsea spend (£)||Premier League spend (£)||Percentage of spend by Chelsea|
Abramovich seemed to get the taste for winter spending after that, splashing out £22.5million (28.7 per cent of Premier League spending), £12.2million (9.4 per cent), £49.2million (34 per cent) and £27.2million (19.3 per cent) in the winter windows between 2012 and 2015.
2017 was quiet, before £47.1million was spent in 2018 on the likes of Olivier Giroud and Ross Barkley, and £62.9million in 2019 on mainly Christian Pulisic.
Then, disaster struck.
Christian Pulisic, who joined Chelsea for £56million in 2019, has had a mixed Blues career
Chelsea received a transfer embargo in 2019 for irregularities over signings of a number of youth players, limiting their movement in the market. In fact, it meant they had to pretty much shut up shop.
Bar Matteo Kovacic who joined on a permanent deal after a loan, no one arrived in the summer of 2019. Then-manager Lampard had his hands tied.
Chelsea did not make any signings in the winter of 2020 either but, when the ban was over, still no one arrived in the following Januarys.
Mateo Kovacic was Chelsea’s only arrival for two transfer windows in the 2019/20 season
Then-manager Frank Lampard had to deal with a transfer embargo during his time in charge
2021, 2022 – nothing.
In early 2022, things got even tougher for the club when Abramovich was sanctioned following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
But Boehly took over in May, and the rest is history.
Boehly doesn’t seem to be showing any signs of slowing down his spending spree.
Six players have come through the door so far this month, headlined by winger Mykhaylo Mudryk, who the Blues picked up for £88million ahead of fellow Premier League side Arsenal.
Their total spending of £184million so far in January with a week of the window remaining equates to 38.7 per cent of all Premier League spending this month.
And again, they may not be done.
|Joao Felix||9m (Loan fee)|
|David Datro Fofana||8m|
Boehly is showing no signs of slowing down his spending spree to help improve Chelsea
The bottom line is Boehly wants success and he is willing to spend to do it.
It doesn’t appear to matter whether it’s January or the summer – deals will be done if they need to be. And according to Boehly, they do right now.
It’s a contrast to the last few years, but probably one Chelsea supporters can get used to. Especially if it means they will get out of the mess they’re in right now, which sees them sit 10th in the Premier League table.