Gallagher & Lukaku to lead £100m Chelsea clearout as FFP breach looms

Peter Staunton
  • Updated: 10 Feb 2024 14:04 GMT
  • 5 min read
Todd Boehly, Chelsea

Chelsea will need to sell up to £100 million worth of players before June 30 or else they will face a financial fair play breach.

The Blues have spent heavily across four transfer windows since new owners - Todd Boehly and the Clearlake Capital consortium - took over from Roman Abramovich in 2022.

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Over £1 billion of talent has been brought to Chelsea since, including the likes of Raheem Sterling, Mykhalio Mudryk, Enzo Fernandez and Moises Caicedo, with the club handing out long-term contracts to spread the cost of their purchases.

Some player contracts totalled eight years but Premier League club shareholders have since voted to limit the so-called “amortisation period” to only five years, meaning Chelsea’s accounting loophole is now closed.

Todd Boehly
© IMAGO - Todd Boehly

Chelsea's FFP net closing in

Under the Premier League’s current Profit and Sustainability Rules, clubs are permitted to lose £105m across a three-year period. To stay clear of any breaches, the Blues will have to offload several players before the end of the current accounting period on June 30.

They were desperate to sell players in the January window with Trevoh Chalobah and Conor Gallagher tipped for the exit and Armando Broja moving to Fulham on loan.

Selling those players might well take Chelsea towards the £100m mark required but there is no guarantee of any takers in summer, particularly with Premier League rivals now well aware of Chelsea’s impending financial plight.

Keith Wyness, a former CEO of Aston Villa and Everton, told Football Insider’s Inside Track podcast: “Chelsea are going to have to offload players early in the window – before the books are balanced on 30 June.

“Their business is going to be the big one to set the ripple effect going – if they don’t achieve their targets.

“They can then go out and spend again later in the window. That just shows to me that these rules and limits are being applied in the wrong way.

“There has to be an element of common sense that comes into this.

“Chelsea will target certain players, like Gallagher, to get maximum value as he came through the academy at the club.”

Noni Madueke, Enzo Fernandez and Mykhailo Mudryk
© IMAGO - Noni Madueke, Enzo Fernandez and Mykhailo Mudryk

Last year the club had to pay UEFA a €10m fine for breaches of the European governing body’s Financial Fair Play regulations after Boehly and Clearlake self-reported incomplete financial information submitted to the Premier League, the FA and to UEFA, from the Abramovich years - covering the period 2012 to 2019. Under UEFA’s rules, clubs can lose €60m over a three-year time frame.

Chelsea are also under investigation by the Premier League and the FA after documents leaked to the Guardian and the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) appeared to show secret payments - totalling tens of millions - paid by Abramovich-owned companies to other companies which benefited Chelsea.

It is not a rosy financial picture for Boehly and there could be difficult decisions afoot for Mauricio Pochettino as head coach.

Other players who could be sold in order to balance the books include:

Marc Cucurella: The Spanish left-back was bought from Brighton for £62m in 2022 but has failed to impress. He is currently on the sidelines having undergone ankle surgery in November.

Trevoh Chalobah: The homegrown defender is under contract under 2028 and the club rate his value at around £25m. He is known to have turned down a move to Nottingham Forest last year and Bayern Munich refused to meet Chelsea’s valuation in January.

Malang Sarr: A late move to Le Havre fell through in January for the Chelsea outcast, with the French club criticising Chelsea for their conduct and the defender, with less than 18 months on his contract, remains on the books albeit frozen out.

Malang Sarr
© IMAGO - Malang Sarr

Conor Gallagher: The 23-year-old remains the club’s most bankable asset. As a homegrown player, his sale would provide a big boost to club coffers. He is under contract under 2025 but the player is understood to believe he’s got a future at Stamford Bridge. Tottenham are known to be among his keenest suitors and the England man could command £50m in the market.

Noni Madueke: It was reported that the 21-year-old winger could have been sold in January to fund a striker purchase with Chelsea looking to recoup the £30m they paid to PSV for his signature last year. There is Premier League interest in Madueke, contracted until 2030, and it hasn’t worked out for the England under-21 man at Chelsea so far.

Kepa Arrizabalaga: The on-loan Real Madrid goalkeeper will return to the club in summer with the Spanish side not keen to sign him on a permanent basis. He cost a world-record £72m in 2018 and could be available for as little as £12m-£13m, according to reports in Spain.

Ian Maatsen: The 21-year-old left back is impressing on loan at Borussia Dortmund, where he will play until the end of the season, and signed a new contract at Sramford Bridge in January which included a £35m release clause.

Hakim Ziyech: Galatasaray have an obligation to buy the Morocco international if certain conditions in his current loan deal are met. His Chelsea contract is until 2025.

Armando Broja: The Blues are known to be keen to offload their homegrown striker, who moved on loan to Fulham on deadline day. They will ask for around £40m for the 22-year-old Albanian, who is contracted until 2028.

Romelu Lukaku: Incredibly, the Belgium record goalscorer is still on the books at the Bridge, and is on his second consecutive loan spell, this time with Roma in Serie A. He is under contract until 2026 and could bring in around £35m.

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