There is reportedly festering concern at Chelsea over the club’s decision not to include relegation clauses in the contracts of their players.
According to Matt Hughes of the Times, while sides like Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur have protected against the unthinkable by adding stipulations prompting a cut in player wages should they go down, Chelsea are “not protected.”
It’s remarkable the Blues even have to worry about this issue given they were crowned champions of England in May. But a disastrous 2015-16 season has seen their legendary manager Jose Mourinho get the boot, and they begin 2016 in 14th place—a meagre three points clear of Newcastle United, who occupy the final spot in the drop zone.
While many have suggested the Blues are too good to go down, Bleacher Report’s Garry Hayes is not buying into that adage:
Bleacher Report UK @br_uk
Assume #CFC are too good to go down at your peril, warns @garryhayes https://t.co/R16oWR03pz https://t.co/Ur4ZIRaNTl2015-12-29 12:17:03
Players such as Eden Hazard, Willian and Thibaut Courtois would typically be good enough to force their way into the squad of most teams on the continent. But as a collective, Chelsea have been well below their best this season and few positive steps have been made since Guus Hiddink took up the managerial hot seat.
The likes of Hazard, Cesc Fabregas, Nemanja Matic, John Terry and Branislav Ivanovic—all stalwarts of the title-winning term last season—have been a long way short of their usual high standards as of late.
Blues fans have been waiting for these talents to burst into life all season, but as we move into 2016, many are facing up to the fact this team is in a battle.
It seems as though other teams languishing in the lower reaches of the Premier League table are also beginning to view Chelsea as relegation candidates, per Sam Cunningham of the Daily Mail:
Sam Cunningham @samcunningham
Norwich fans talking about needing Manchester United to beat Chelsea to help in their bid to avoid relegation...2015-12-28 17:09:04
If it was to happen, Chelsea—as well off as they are—would be in a predicament. Not only would the club be without the Champions League funds which have regularly come their way in recent years, but with a bumper television deal to bolster the bank balances of Premier League clubs ahead of the 2016-17 campaign, they’d miss out on that massive influx of cash too.
In the second tier, the big-money contracts which key players are on would also be very tough to afford, especially given, as aforementioned, there are no insurance policies to offset the huge losses the club would have to swallow.
While many have been joking about the prospect on social media for the majority of the campaign, the chances of relegation remain very slim for the Blues. But for as long as these players continue to underperform, fans will continue to look nervously over their shoulder, especially in light of these recent revelations.