Since winning the Champions League in Germany a few months ago, Chelsea’s transfer policy could be adequately summed up as out with the old and in with the new. It’s been a return to the eye-bleeding sums of money they paid out in the first few years under Abramovich’s stewardship, a reminder of Chelsea’s extravagance in the transfer market that’s bound to raise a few eyebrows around Europe.
Similar to PSG’s close season recruitment drive Chelsea have opted for youth over experience, a surprising move considering their history for buying experience (Makelele, Ballack, Shevchenko) but not so surprising when you consider the ages of their players last season (Drogba, 34; Terry, 31; Lampard, 34). It was a team that was not getting any younger, the Champions League win was a useful shot in the arm of the club; reminding them of where they want to be but at the same acknowledging that to be at the top they need players in or approaching their prime, not past it.
…disheartening for any young player…
And so what does this mean for the club? It shows they have ambition: that they are not willing to rest on the laurels established last season. However it does so show an overreliance on importing players rather than bringing them through the ranks. It must be disheartening for any young player to see their path to the first team obscured by big-money signings. With Uefa’s Financial Fair Play (FFP) rulings coming in to force over the next few seasons with preliminary account readings starting this year, this extravagant spending is certain to make it hard to fit in with the rules for a club that lost £67.7 million in the year ending June 2011.
Despite that, the future certainly looks brighter for the club; the squad hoping to be reinvigorated by the arrival of new blood. The biggest question for Roberto Di Matteo as we head to start of a new season is will the signings reap an immediate dividend?