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Chelsea and Mourinho master art of transfer window once again

| 03.02.2015

Continuing their trend of the past few seasons, Chelsea, 7/1 with Coral to win the Champions League this season, have once again beaten the transfer window.

Last January they sold Juan Mata to Manchester United for £37m and Kevin De Bruyne to Wolfsburg for £18m, making a combined profit on both players of around £25m. This enabled them to buy back Nemanja Matic for £21m, who was arguably the signing of the winter window last term. Although they spent another £23.5m on Kurt Zouma and Mohamed Salah, these are players for the future.

It was the following summer, though where Jose Mourinho and his power brokers pulled off the biggest coups. Signing Diego Costa, Cesc Fabregas and Filipe Luis for approximately £90m, they sold David Luiz, Romelu Lukaku and Demba Ba for £6m less, however also offloaded Frank Lampard, Ashley Cole and Samuel Eto’o, freeing up at least that figure in wages. It is also worth mentioning that the Blues made a combined profit on the players they sold, of £40m.

This January, the Blues demonstrated yet more financial savvy, by offloading German World Cup winning winger Andre Schurrle on transfer deadline day and replaced him with Juan Cuadrado. Chelsea tried to address this situation in the summer, when they wanted to push ahead with plans to bring in a quality right sided option to provide competition for Willian, though a deal couldn’t be negotiated.

The plan was to wait until this summer, however, after learning how much Wolfsburg were willing to pay for Schurrle, Chelsea chiefs capitalised on this situation to bring in Cuadrado. An initial £24.1m fee has been received from Wolfsburg, which is likely to rise to £27.8m; a significant increase on the £18m the Blues paid for the player 18 months ago, while Cuadrado has been brought in for £23.3m which will rise to the Colombian’s £26.8m release clause.

Already, there is another small profit there, indicating once again the skill of Chelsea’s negotiators. Recognising the fact that if Wolfsburg added to their squad, they could suitably challenge leaders Bayern Munich; they no doubt used this as leverage to drive a fee they found desirable for the player. Negotiation at its best.

In doing this, they were able to create a sufficient enough margin to make the type of bid for Cuadrado that significantly played on Fiorentina’s greed for cash; a basic human instinct, while also including Salah in the package to go on loan until the end of the season. A great deal for all involved.

Although Salah has failed to make the kind of impact that was expected at Stamford Bridge after being signed for £11m, the only thing on the mind of Roman Abramovich’s inner-circle at the club will be making a profit on the player when they do come to sell him.

Following the same procedure they used with Lukaku and De Bruyne, by sending Salah out on loan somewhere that he will get first team football, there will be the hope that he flourishes, so that the Blues once again can make substantial profit on a player they bought for £11m. If they do indeed sell him to Fiorentina, his sale to them will go some way to recouping the cash that the west London club paid for Cuadrado; which in fact could be more suitably classed as surplus dividend in business terminology.

This transition over the last decade that Abramovich and his chief executives have mapped out, going from a billionaire’s hobby, to a sustainable business has been nothing less than a masterstroke. Their biggest key to the profit they have made thus far is, as eluded to, loaning players out that they know will perform, therefore driving their value, and capitalising on clubs’ need for those players, in order to make a profit. Simple, in the grand scheme of things, and other Premier League clubs can certainly learn from this.

Cuadrado is also eligible to play in the Champions League, as Chelsea push ahead to win what would be a dream double of the Premier League title and Europe’s elite club competition for the second time in three years; that is just the latter of course. They are also in the Capital One Cup final, as Mourinho looks to secure his first trophy of his second reign as Chelsea boss.

The Blues have Willian, who plays on the right, and although Mourinho likes his work rate, the Brazilian hasn’t chipped in with enough goals while his creation ratio is low. Cuadrado is expected to be an upgrade in his position, after finishing joint-top of the assist charts at the World Cup.

No doubt Chelsea will continue to spend as long as they can make substantial profit, and with a number of players still out on loan, their expendable assets now, far outweigh the need for operational expenditure.



Matt Haynes

A long-suffering Leeds fan, Matt studied Sports Journalism at university, and has a plethora of multi-industry experience. Having worked on behalf of multiple hedge funds and top-tier investment banks in executive search, he has also had a stint with the BBC and the Press Association. Outside of work, he pursues entrepreneurial activities and likes to keep fit.
Although he has interviewed current England manager Roy Hodgson as well as Rafa Benitez and a number of other names, he is honoured to have spent time in the company of Gordon Banks. Matt enjoys cultivating long-lasting professional and personal relationships, is solution orientated, and supports Coral’s sports content provision.