Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho went back on his word in the January transfer window. Having told BT Sport at the beginning of the month that no big deals would happen at Stamford Bridge, the Blues ended up spending £44 million, whilst still managing to make a £10 million profit (per goal.com)
It is obvious to everyone that Financial Fair Play has had a big impact on the club’s recent dealings. Having recorded a loss of nearly £50 million in 2012-13 according to the Daily Mail, it is imperative that Chelsea turn a profit, however small, for the 2013-14 season to avoid the risk of expulsion from European competition.
Their dealings in January, recorded in the Daily Mail, have kept them on track to achieve this goal, and there is sound logic behind the decision to let three players leave.
Michael Essien’s free transfer to AC Milan has freed up some cash in the wage bill, and the sales of two peripheral players have left the club in the black. Kevin De Bruyne was unhappy with the squad rotation policy at Stamford Bridge and was allowed to return to the Bundesliga with Wolfsburg for £17 million. Juan Mata’s transfer to Manchester United hurt the Chelsea supporters, but his open letter on his blog explained why he felt he had to leave.
I hope you understand that after going through a complicated and, for me, new situation in the last few months, I believe this is the best choice in order to carry on with my football career and to keep enjoying this sport. Before last summer, my intention was to stay here for a long time; as long as the club wanted me to, and to keep winning trophies for Chelsea FC. This is how happy I was in the club and in the city. However, as you all know, things changed after the preseason. From feeling like an important player, I started to experience some difficult situations and I felt unable to help the team to the extent that I wanted and was used to. Obviously, I fully respect the circumstances. Football is a team sport and it’s not easy to play regularly in such a good squad. In sports you may win or lose, but the most important thing is to give everything. I hope you know and feel that I have always done so. In every game, in every training session, without exception. I have always tried my best for the club.
While it was certainly difficult to see Mata leave, it is in Chelsea’s best interests to ensure that all of the players in the squad are fulfilling their potential. If a player, even one as universally adored as Mata, does not fit into the manager’s plans on a regular basis, it makes sense to let him go. Short-term pain for long-term gain, with money to reinvest in the summer.
The money that Chelsea spent was pretty frugal compared to past transfer windows. They have strengthened one of the areas that needed attention, with Nemanja Matic reinforcing the central midfield role.
Kurt Zouma will act as cover for the central defenders next season, while Mohamed Salah fills the space left by De Bruyne and Mata. There will also be opportunities for the likes of Nathan Ake and Thomas Kalas to step up to the senior squad for the Champions League, with Matic and Salah cup-tied for the rest of the season.
Despite all of the good business done in January, and with another full squad set to return from loan at the end of the season, the Blues will still need to spend in the summer. Their need for a proven goalscorer is obvious, and there will no doubt be a few more players heading for the Stamford Bridge exit to help fund that acquisition. As it stands at the moment though, Chelsea can certainly call this January transfer window a success.