Chelsea’s £75m Transfer Window Spend Smells Of Desperation

Photo by Feggy Art.

So Roman Abramovich has decided its time to start spending money again, has he? About time too, many Chelsea fans might say. The press have seen this as indicative of him being prepared to rebuild Chelsea again. Seventy five million quid is certainly a big financial commitment but the problem is, it goes nowhere near to addressing Chelsea’s problems and could easily be £75 million if not wasted then not put to the best use. The fact this was a deadline day splurge suggests it was not planned long in advance and was something of a desperate measure.

For a start Fernando Torres is the walking or rather hobbling definition of injury prone. While his goals per game stat is impressive, less so is the number of games he’s actually started while at Liverpool. The last three seasons have seen him start no more than 24 league games. So for £50 million, you’re getting a striker who is likely to on the sidelines for 30% of the season which still leaves Chelsea short of strike power for that third. so he’ll need to spend to address that.

Similarly, while Luiz is good and an adaptable defender, the side still needs major defensive strengthening to survive inevitable injuries right across the back four.

Indeed, that could be said of much of the team. Major investment is still needed but those thinking that Abramovich can just throw infinite money at the problem as he has in the past have to realise that UEFA Fair Play rules are approaching fast and while they are complicated and allow for transfer investment, sooner rather than later Chelsea, along with everyone else, will have to balance their books or face expulsion from UEFA competitions. Chelsea simply can’t risk that, which is why they were supposed to be bringing youth players through. However, clearly, those players are not good enough and Chelsea don’t have the patience nor the time to let them become good enough, so out comes the cheque book once again.

Such spending, while fun for the neutral observer, is an admittance of the failure of the club’s ambition to become more self-sufficient. This wasn’t going to be Roman’s new way. He wanted both the financial stability and the kudos that comes with ‘growing your own.’

Quite why this has failed so comprehensively is not clear, but as plenty of other clubs across Europe are able to produce at least an occasional top class player, we can surmise that something is rotten behind the scenes at the Blues. How can a club located in London with all the human resources on their door step not find at least one first team regular in the 11 years since Terry broke through? Even if Josh McEachran turns out to be someone who can make it, one player in over a decade is a shocking indictment of their youth system and like it our not, youth systems are going to become more important. Abramovich knew that only too well, which was why he’s pulled the plug on big spending in favour of youth, at least until Monday.

If Abramovich can’t splash endless money to rebuild Chelsea – and eventually he will not be able to – then what exactly are they going to do?

This transfer window has stuck a Band-Aid over the problem but the lack of exuberance from Chelsea fans over their two mega-priced transfers suggests they know only too well that problems still lay ahead and that the radical overhaul that the squad needs will take a lot more money and will put the club into a lot more debt…  debt which UEFA will eventually not tolerate. The problem is, if they don’t spend big, how can Chelsea put together a top class squad again?

Editor’s Note: Johnny’s new book: “We Ate All The Pies: How Football Swallowed Britain Whole” is available via Amazon US or Amazon UK.

50 thoughts on “Chelsea’s £75m Transfer Window Spend Smells Of Desperation”

  1. Typical, Chelsea purchase a world class striker and a good defender yet all people talk about is the negatives. Who moaned when Fergie spent £30m on Rio, £30m on Rooney, £30m on Berbatov??? Who moans at the fact Man Utd, Arsenal, Liverpool, Tottenham and Man City only have about 5 academy players BETWEEN THEM in their starting 11’s??? It’s always Chelsea who receive the negative press. The fact is, if Roman wants to spend £1billion on players then that’s up to him and the only people who disagree are the people who don’t have that luxury…

    1. Yep, we’re the token club to hate in the EPL. Read any newspaper or online article and 95% of the time it’s complaining about Chelsea. They’re called RED-tops for a reason y’know 😉

  2. This is one of the worst articles I’ve ever read.
    Chelsea tried to buy Luiz last summer and some reports even said they tried to buy Torres then too, so I think it was planned.
    How about Liverpool signing Carrol? or Arsenal desperately trying to hang on to Fabregas for another season? or Man City spending £27M on Dzeko?
    Do you also call these acts of desperation?

    1. Arsenal didn’t desperately try to do anything. They didn’t concede to anyone, they simply said “not for sale” loudly and firmly. Stop hatin’ because the gunners can do more with less money for their whole superior starting eleven than your new out of form bandwagoning striker.

    2. This is one of the worst comments I’ve ever read.

      Do you also call these acts of desperation? Liverpool signing Carroll – YES. Man City spending 27M on Dzeko? YES.

      In your world, does an author need to mention every instance of something happening in order to justify discussing one time when it happened? So every time someone writes about Chelsea’s championship last year, I guess they should write about every team who’s won a championship. Otherwise it’s BIAS!!!!

  3. Liverpool needed another home grown player. Home grown players are necessarily over priced because the new rule demands it to be so. Yeah, it was desperate in the sense that he was the one home grown player that someone would sell to Liverpool.

    Torres has flashes of brilliance, but I’m not sure he’s consistent enough to warrant the money spent on him. Even for his national team he rides the bench more than he starts.

    I agree that Arsenal’s continual stranglehold on Fabregas is probably going to hurt them down the road. The argument was made about Chelsea and 50 million being no big deal, that’s how I feel about Man City. If Man City wanted to pay 40 million for Michael Owen, they would because they can.

    1. And Carroll didn’t even want to go, apparently. Congrats Scousers, you spent £35mil on an overrated striker that doesn’t want to play for ya 😉

      1. >you spent £35mil on an overrated striker that doesn’t want to play for ya

        So he’s a drunk with a temper and no self control but at least he’s not stupid: no one in their right minds wants to join a circus>sinking ship with one aging star left and a succession of Mascherano, Alonso and now Torres wanting to leave the stinking town.

        As for desperation: english or not, 35mil for a guy who has proven nothing yet in the EPL is the very definition.
        I mean, I know the guy was the 17th best scorer in the league last year… so what if it WASNT the EPL.
        he has potential and he’s english….. I guess that should be enough for a national team spot too.
        mediocrity is so nice….

  4. I’m not sure what the author is trying to say here.

    Chelsea bought two players that any team in Europe would want. Is it the price that is annoying him?

    Isn’t Liverpool’s purchase of Carroll more desperate then Chelsea’s supposed panic buy? I can state with utmost certainty that if United were in our position they’d have also bought some players.

    Always, always, always blame Chelsea I guess…

    Poor article.

    1. I say Carroll’s purchase is more desperate than Torres… because of Torres. Call it’s FSG, Kenny, or who-evers fault, but having your main striker turn in a transfer request on Friday night isn’t good. Torres is injury prone and has been sulky at Anfield all season. Sell him.

      But look at Suarez, it was methodical and deliberate, L’pool got a great deal on him.

      1. The real issue should be why The King couldn’t hold onto his best player. Never mind that Liverpool have done to Newcastle what all of Liverpool is crying about in regards to Torres. Blame the club not the player.

        Torres is a proven goal scorer in England and I’m sure he’ll get on well with Chelsea.

        What Liverpool have in Carroll is player not too different from Joey Barton, only with slightly more potential and the same amount of bad decision making.

  5. 1) Part of the reason I am a Chelsea fan is because everyone in the EPL seems to hate them and blame them for all things wrong with soccer, but

    2) It would be nice to have a player come up through the academy/reserves every now and then. Of course I have this issue with every team. No one plays their youth enough

  6. Look at the state of me boys right now, or at least in the latter part of the fall/winter games. Are we desperate? Wouldn’t you be? However, given the lack of spending over the last few transfer windows, this doesn’t bother me at all. In fact, it’s about damn time. And I’m very pleased with Torres & Luiz.

  7. Wow–blues fans are awfully defensive. There is much truth in this article, and I think if it has to include equal space to each team it would be too long. The aging of the Chelsea team has been well documented. The important take-away is that home-grown youths are the important trend going forward and the big clubs are slow to recognize that fact or have done a poor job of building their youth systems. I think the big issue will be what happens as the realities of UEFA constraints hurt the big clubs. Will clubs protest if they start slipping down the table? How will clubs try to bypass these constraints? How much spine will UEFA have enforcing these new rules?

  8. Arsenal (and perhaps now Liverpool if NESV is true to their word) will rule supreme as soon as UEFA Fair Play rules take root.

  9. Couple of things about this article. Chelsea have been chasing Fernando Torres for more than a few years. To say it is desperation to wait to the last day of the transfer window misses the point. If Chelsea came in an made a £50m bid for Torres early in the window, since he was also a target of Manchester City who can easily outbid Chelsea in the market, it would be silly, as City could turn around and easily bid £60m. Instead, Chelsea play their cards close to their chest and bid late in the window to prevent a competitive bid in the same window.

    The same thing with David Luiz. Chelsea wanted to buy him last January, then again in the summer. Both times Benfica said no. However, this time Luiz put in a transfer request and his mate Ramires, also purchased from Benfica, convinced him to come to Chelsea. Luiz was a target of Real Madrid, Chelsea, Manchester City, Manchester United, and Tottenham (apparently). However, only three of those clubs could match the valuation of Luiz at £30m, City, Real, and Chelsea. Chelsea again played their cards close to their chest and waited. Doing so again prevented competing bids for a highly rated player that Chelsea have sought for a year, and made multiple bids for.

    Having said that, Chelsea do need to rejuvenate their squad. However, every club needs to do that. Chelsea have a few quality youth players out on loan to get first team experience, and a few staying at home who are filling in quite nicely. The future of Chelsea’s midfield and defense are home grown. McEachran, Bruma, Kakuta, and van Aanholt are all homegrown players with qualities exhibited by current Chelsea XI. To say that one player in a decade is not enough fails to take into account that Chelsea started building their academy with kids, all of whom were under 10 when Terry came through. When was the last time someone came through the Liverpool academy, to go to an example of another academy failing. Or even the famed West Ham academy producing a player of enough quality to play for a top 4 team?

    1. Yeah this was a pretty dumb article. To say “The fact this was a deadline day splurge suggests it was not planned long in advance and was something of a desperate measure” is absolutely ridiculous.

      1. Just because something was planned longer than a day, doesn’t mean it isn’t desperate. Yes, Chelsea had been looking at Torres for a long time, but to pay fifty million for a player who looks good one out of every four games says it all. They’re doing everything they can in the short term to stay in the title hunt, and overpaying in the process. That’s pretty much the definition of desperation.

    2. Excellent post. Having homegrown players does not mean they will produce immediately, they need time to mature. Sturridge will get that time and experience at Bolton, the same way Mancini is gaining experience. In the meantime, this is a club that still has a chance at the CL and a slight chance at the EPL — and I’m not even mentioning the FA Cup (since Torres is cup-tied).

      I think Chelsea made some good buys — Luiz can play all four defender positions and Torres, on form, is one of the best strikers in the world. I hate to say this to anyone, but if Drogba, Torres and Malouda are all in a good mood and fit, do you really want to be a defender or keeper playing against them? I think not….

  10. Mark my words Chelsea fans…El Nino will crush your spirit! Can’t wait to see him walking and jogging all day in blue!


    Interesting article in the Guardian regarding UEFA Financial fair play rules.

    You do not have to exactly balance you book for the 2 years. In fact you can deviated close to 38.5 million pounds in the first 2 years. Thus technically you could be in the hole by 79 million pounds over the 2 years and still be in compliance.

    As much people believe this will stop teams like Man City and Chelsea for buying there are loop holes within this system.

    1. There are also personal investment ways to get around it. Because the £75m that Chelsea spent on Monday was not coming from Chelsea’s books but from Abramovich’s check book, Chelsea does not have to declare that money at all to UEFA. The “Financial Fair Play” rules are more a of a set of guidelines than any hard and fast rules.

      There is no way that Platini would allow his beloved Real Madrid to not continue to spend the way they have and keep them out of the Champion’s League. The problem of the big clubs getting bigger and the small clubs getting smaller is not a uniquely English thing, either. Barca announced 150m euro debt last year, and Real announced an operating loss of over 200m euro, more than twice what United, Chelsea, and Liverpool last last year combined.

  12. The fact is, whether Arsenal or Chelsea supporter, there is bias going in both directions. Arsenal fans believe in the Arsene way, and Chelsea fans don’t see fault in the Abramovich way. I first started watching Arsenal when Wenger came to the club, and I believe his system is the most prudent. However, I understand there is more than one way to skin a cat.

    I do believe the Chelsea moves stink of desperation. Especially because my friends who are Chelsea supporters are all calling me telling me they’re a shoe in to win the title again because of these purchases (they’re also the same fans that were in the witness protection program for the last 3 months). Silly wankers. You’re 10 points off the pace with a tough run in. You’re bound to drop points, and the 75million will be all for not.

    1. “I do believe the Chelsea moves stink of desperation. Especially because my friends who are Chelsea supporters are all calling me telling me they’re a shoe in to win the title again…”

      So you’re convinced it’s a desperate move because of the reaction your friends have to it? That’s a wee bit odd, isn’t it?

      Might be keen to consider that both signings are still in their 20s, which means they would presumbly be in the squad for a few good years to come. That doesn’t smell like desperation, it smells like the beginning of an effort to rejuvenate the squad.

  13. Somehow purchasing a 23 year old defender who can play all back four positions and is universally regarded as a world class talent after months and months of tracking “smells of desperation”. In Luiz they have a player who adds instant depth at FOUR positions, and who will blossom into a star for both club and country for the next decade. Yet such a move is desperate.

    If you want to argue that Torres is injury prone, and thusly not worth his fee – fine. What you cannot argue is that for the 70% of games that he’s not missing due to presumed injury, he adds a dimension to Chelsea’s attack that arguably no other side in the world have. I have to believe that even if Torres’ abnormally high injury rate continues, Chelsea have unquestionably improved themselves in the short and long term, and will somehow manage to cope with the same front three that won them the double last season for 3/10ths of their fixtures.

    Even more laughable is that the author mentions only Josh McEacheran as a future first 11 player, while neglecting to even mention Kakuta, Bruma, van Aanholt, Sala, or even Sturridge. Gael Kakuta, one of the 2 or 3 best U-21s on the planet, doesn’t even get mentioned in an article bemoaning how troubled Chelsea’s youth system is… laughable.

    Terrible article. Smells of jealously, reeks of ignorance.

  14. Gaffer,

    Can you please place a note at the bottom of John Nic’s articles that he is a lifelong Middlesborough supporter? Perhaps this would stop the comments sections under his articles being filled with stupid accusations of bias because he had the temerity to have an opinion not shared by them.

    Also, can you copy edit them first? ;>

    1. Clampdown, we’d have to do that for every post by every blogger. As you know, people think I support Arsenal, Man United, Liverpool and plenty of other teams whenever I criticize their rivals, but some readers know I support Swansea City.

      I copy-edited John’s piece but maybe I missed a few things. Was in a rush this morning, sorry.

      The Gaffer

  15. Chelsea supporters sure love playing the victim role.

    Torres, while an amazing talent isn’t going to work out that great for Chelsea until Drogs and Anelka are no more. Not enough selflessness on that team

    1. Torres and Anelka can EASILY play together. Anelka doesn’t even really play striker anyway– more of a deep-lying playmaker role (like yesterday). Drogba can play wing if needed, as well.

      1. I really hope we play a 4-3-1-2 formation similar to what we played at Sunderland, but drop Kalou behind Drogba in favor of Torres up with Drogba. Leaves Anelka in the hole behind Torres and Drogba where he is best, as evidenced by his performance at Sunderland. We could even go back to the 4-4-2 diamond formation we played when Ancelotti first arived since we finally have two quality strikers and a good foil to go in the hole behind them. Given Anelka’s propensity to wander, having him in the hole shouldn’t impact Lampard’s ability to get forward into the box.

  16. I would suggest to the author of this article to invest some time in attending a course at a community college on writing or take a few minutes to read his article before posting because I found it dificult to read because of the various gramatical and spelling mistakes.

    Also ib response to the poster “Q”, please do not compare us against a team that wile doesn’t spend a lot of money but more importantly don’t win titles. I wont call any names but they are so desparate to win a title they have started their best players in Carling cup games because I guess they realize that it is the only title they can win lol. I know some people might be wondering what the hell is the Carling cup. It is not a figment of my imagination, it is a cup similar to the FA cup but for the fact that no one cares about it anymore.

    1. The remark about writing skills is funny coming from a person who starts a paragraph with “Also ib response” and spells while “wile”. You should probably take a course yourself. If you’re lucky it’ll be taught by a published author, just like the author of this article!!

      1. Joe I have a real job for which I have professional qualifications. Firstly, I am not an ‘author’ so less is expected of me in terms of writing and secondly I just took a few seconds from my real job to write a quick note. Unfortunately I am at work now so I can’t waste anymore of my time agruing with someone who supports one of those red teams lol. If you are a gooner good luck on the bloody carling cup.

        1. I can only imagine what “real job” you have for which less is expected of you than being able to spell the words “if” or “while”. You can’t be a lawyer, because then you’d have to “agrue”. But I do believe that you’re very busy. Otherwise, you’d certainly have taken the time to include more than one comma in your ramblings. I’m glad you still found the time to laugh out loud at the end of a sentence. If we don’t have time for humor, what’s the point of life?

          Anyway, good luck watching your team become financially ineligible for UEFA tournaments in a few years.

          Sorry, I didn’t mean to draw you back into a relevant argument. Get back to your paper route.

  17. Like a lot of people, I suppose, I enjoy some of the things I actually deplore. The heated rhetoric about teams in crisis and tabloid soap operas about player contracts are cases in point. Some days it can be quite entertaining. Other days it just seems silly. As many commentors have already pointed out, this article’s central premise is flawed. Last gasp desperation these transfers are not. A crisis? Well, it’s true Chelsea dropped a helluva lot of points in November and December. But you know, they still have the best Goals Against stat in the Premier League. Perhaps I don’t understand anything about football, but I think that means they have the best defense in the league. Not bad for a team in crisis. And they’re currently third in Goals For. Not world beating, but not bad either. Let’s see how they do in Champions League (where Torres can leave a mark) and the FA Cup (where Luiz can have an impact). There’s still plenty to play for. Too bad about Middlesbrough, though.

  18. I can’t stand Chelsea. Buying there way to success.
    Chelsea, Man City are not real clubs.
    They will ultimately fail, this is not how to run a club.

    1. did evra,rooney,hernadez,ferdinand,anderson,berbatov,ronaldo,nani,park ji-sung,vidic,rafeal,valencia,obertan etc.. of mau club came from their youth club?, are you sure that manu didn’t bought them?, did you knw how much did they cost??????????

  19. As others have already said here, it is pathetic to see such an excellent hire turned into a negative somehow by a Chelsea rival who was not happy seeing them strengthened so much

    Torres was a huge get, expensive or not.

    Just a fact

  20. Those UEFA finanical rules are a joke. You really think a tournament that depends on big teams to make money is gonig to tell Chelase, Man U, Man City, Barcalona, Inter, AC Milan, etc… no thanks because they spend more than they make. That’s as funny as American’s wanting to balance the budget by not touching Medicade, Medicare, Defense Spending, and Social Security all while cutting taxes.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *