Chelsea’s Eye-Watering Financial Figures Raise Questions on Club’s Sustainability

13 April 2024, 12:10 BST

Updated 1 hour ago

Image source, Getty Images

Image caption, Chelsea finished 12th in the Premier League in 2022-23, the first full season since the Todd Boehly-led consortium took over

Chelsea spent £747m on transfers last season, according to accounts published by Companies House.

The wage bill rose by 18% to £404m, the second highest in the Premier League.

This figure is thought to include compensation to Thomas Tuchel and Graham Potter, who were both sacked during last season.

As of 30 June 2023 – after the first full year under the ownership of Todd Boehly’s Clearlake Capital consortium – the cost of the squad was over £1bn.

Players costing £592m were sold for £203m, although accounting rules mean that generated a profit of £63m.

A further £450m has been spent on transfers since 30 June, but that will be included in the 2023-24 accounts.

On Friday it was revealed that Chelsea spent more than £75m on agents and intermediaries over the 12-month period to February 2024, the most of any Premier League side.

In March they reported a pre-tax loss of £90m, having lost £121m the previous year. However, in figures published by Companies House, it is now clear the losses would have been even higher without the sale of hotel buildings to Blueco 22 Properties Ltd, a subsidiary of parent company Blueco 22 Ltd, which led to a profit for the club of £76.5m.

Under Premier League profit and sustainability (PSR) regulations, clubs can lose a maximum of £105m over three seasons before facing sanctions.

Certain costs, including investment in youth and women’s teams, can be deducted, but Chelsea are likely to need to sell more players by 30 June in order to remain within the rules.

New signings in the 2022-23 accounts include Enzo Fernandez from Benfica for a then British record £105m, Mykhailo Mudryk from Shakhtar Donetsk for £89m and Benoit Badiashile from Monaco for £35m.

Sales include Kai Havertz to Arsenal for £65m, Mateo Kovacic to Manchester City for £25m and Timo Werner to RB Leipzig in a deal thought to be worth about £25m.

The £55m sale of Mason Mount to Manchester United will be in the 2023-24 accounts, as will the signing of Moises Caicedo from Brighton in a deal that could rise to a British record £115m.

Chelsea’s turnover increased from £481m in 2021-22 to £513m last season, but broadcasting revenue dropped by £9m to £256m after they failed to qualify for Europe.

The Premier League is investigating potential financial rule breaches that occurred during previous owner Roman Abramovich’s tenure, which were reported by the new ownership group following their takeover in May 2022.

Everton have this season been deducted eight points for two breaches of PSR rules, while Nottingham Forest have been deducted four points.

‘Eye-watering figures’ – analysis

Simon Stone, chief football news reporter

The figures are eye-watering and just place even more scrutiny on Todd Boehly and Chelsea’s ownership group given the club remain in mid-table.

They also raise questions about Chelsea’s ability to meet the Premier League’s profit and sustainability targets.

As Everton and Nottingham Forest have found to their cost this season, if clubs exceed the £105m loss limit over three seasons, they run the risk of points deductions.

The losses posted will not quite be the same as the figures submitted to the Premier League but still, they are hefty, and have been for two seasons. The transfer spend since the end of the last financial year – coupled with an underwhelming league campaign and the continued absence from Europe – suggests Chelsea might be looking to sell someone before 30 June to balance up the books.

It will be fascinating to see if that happens – they may not be the only club in that situation.

It all seems such a far cry from the latter years under Roman Abramovich, when Chelsea made selling players such an art form.

2024-04-13 14:11:18
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