Chelsea's transfer business making a mockery of Man Utd's

FT Desk
  • FT Desk
  • 3 Oct 2022 21:50 BST
  • 3 min read
FT Desk 3 Oct 2022 21:50 BST 3 min read
Todd Boehly, Chelsea owner

Chelsea have lined up Christopher Nkunku for just €60 million next season; Manchester United dithered all summer and spent €100m on - an admittedly talented - Antony in much the same position.

Both clubs now have American ownership; Todd Boehly succeeding Roman Abramovich as Chelsea's head honcho in May, while the Glazer family has been in charge of Man Utd since their controversial buyout back in 2005.

And both spent big this summer, indeed, Chelsea out-spent everyone in Europe, dropping nearly €300m on the likes of Wesley Fofana, Raheem Sterling, Kalidou Koulibaly and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

Manchester United weren't that far behind, spending €240m with Antony leading arrivals that also included Casemiro and Lisandro Martinez.

Whilst the season is too young to judge either side's new arrivals fairly, the Boehly era is just beginning, while the Glazer era has had the best part of a decade to prove itself, and Gary Neville's is perhaps the most vociferous voice demanding: "Glazer's out!"

While Casemiro's experience is anecdotal among the superstars outlined above, it does appear to suggest some disconnect between the club and its management. Erik ten Hag wanted Frenkie de Jong, United's board got fed up waiting for an answer and paid Real Madrid €80m for Casemiro instead. He is yet to start a Premier League game.

Smart move

While Graham Potter is working out his best XI this season, Chelsea have already set about strengthening for next, and have reportedly agreed terms on the €60m transfer of RB Leipzig star Nkunku having completed a medical with him in Frankfurt this summer.

Nkunku scored 35 goals and assisted 20 more in 52 games last season, and his acquisition, ahead of the competition, is a shrewd one. Compare that to Antony, who had 12 and 10 in each column across 33 games for Ajax, and was only signed at the end of the window after going on striker, his price eventually climbing to €100m.

Nkunku is rated at €61 by Football Transfers' sophisticated in-house algorithm and will move for €60; Antony moved for €100 but is rated at €72m.

Getting your business done early keeps a players' price down, and it is something Chelsea have already proved willing to do under Boehly. United have had 17 seasons and 34 transfer windows to prove they can do the same under the Glazers, and they are yet to.

It remains to be seen which summer 2022 arrivals work out the better, but for summer 2023, Chelsea are already out in front.