Injuries have played a massive role in what has been another disappointing season at Stamford Bridge. As of the end of November, six players are on the sidelines with injuries, and even more players have had stints out with injuries. In true Chelsea fashion, several of these absentees are new signings that arrived with expensive transfer fees. For example, Christopher Nkunku and Romeo Lavia are on the current injury list.
With so many absences, Chelsea is paying people for not playing in games. Twenty-First Group compiled data that breaks down how much Premier League clubs spend on injured players. The Blues are spending 12% of their wage bill on players who are out with injury. That is more than double what the second-placed team in that department, Manchester United, pays on injured players.
There are two things to consider with Chelsea’s injury wages. On one hand, the Blues have been unlucky with injuries. Wesley Fofana started 14 games last season for Chelsea. He missed 15 games with injury. This year, he has not played at all as he suffered an ACL injury in the summer. Ben Chilwell has not played since late September as he nurses a hamstring injury. Romeo Lavia has waited more than two months to make his debut with Chelsea after an ankle injury in training.
Chelsea paying for injury to stars with bloated wages
However, bad luck with injuries is only part of the problem. Chelsea has given players massive contracts without seeing fruitful results. Wesley Fofana and Ben Chilwell are both on contracts of $13.2 million per season. Christopher Nkunku, who is yet to play for Chelsea, is earning $12.8 million. For comparison, Son Heung-min, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Bukayo Saka are making less money each season.
Injuries are part of the game, and Chelsea is dealing with an injury crisis that is arguably the worst in the Premier League. Still, it comes down to the ownership that is dealing these contracts that makes Chelsea suffer more.
Other clubs are dealing with injuries, too. Newcastle has missed out on several key players this season with injury. For example, Alexander Isak returned after missing six games with a groin injury. Still, there are eight players on the Newcastle injury list, which includes players like Sven Botman, Harvey Barnes and Dan Burn. Newcastle has been cleverer with its contracts to share the payments, which means its percentage of wages spent on players with injury is less than Chelsea.
Injuries affecting Chelsea’s form
Regardless, Chelsea has struggled in the face of so many injuries. Through 13 games this season, Chelsea has four wins, four draws and five losses. Most recently, Chelsea lost comfortably against that injury-laden Newcastle side, 4-1. Currently, the Blues sit 10th in the Premier League table, which would be an improvement on the previous season.
Still, the club needs its expensive players to return to fitness if it wants to compete for a European spot, which is where many fans think Chelsea needs to be with the talent it has.
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