When Roman Abramovich took over Chelsea Football Club in 2003, he spent huge sums of money to create a team that he hoped would dominate English and European football. The clubs achievements since Abramovich has been at the helm have been tremendous, they have won three Premier League titles, three FA Cups, two League Cups and been finalists in the Champions League, yet the primary factor that got them there, money, is no longer going to be available in the same quantities it was in the past. This could turn out to be a positive thing for the club however, as well as being a necessity in regards to new rules being brought into the Champions League in 2012, restricting teams who do not break even financially from entering the competition.
Spending money does not always guarantee immediate success, one just has to look at the example of Real Madrid’s recent failings to see that. Manchester City as well, have not had the success they wished for when Sheikh Mansour began spending his immense fortune. Chelsea’s vast expenditure however, has enabled the club to become one of the biggest in Europe after Abramovich began spending his millions. In the past few years though, Chelsea have definitely cut down the amount they have paid for transfers, with Ramires the only big signing this summer.
For a number of years now Chelsea have maintained that they want to be economically self-sufficient. Roman Abramovich is a very wealthy man indeed but you can understand why he wants to cut down his personal level of spending, and make the club pay for itself. Financially the motivations are obvious, but it could also be a good thing for the team itself.
To get a close knit squad together you need to let a team gel and spend time playing with one another, Chelsea clearly have a squad with fantastic morale which is something a club like Manchester City do not currently have. That is one reason why cutting expenditure can be a good thing, allowing for team spirit to build rather than disrupting the players already at the club by bringing in big money signings who take the place of established performers. Another positive is that it allows for clubs to bring in and nurture young players to a far greater degree, something that we are seeing more and more from Chelsea nowadays.
Breaking even financially will also become a pre-requisite for entering the world’s top club tournament from 2012 onwards. UEFA President Michel Platini has long campaigned for clubs in Europe to lower their spending, in order to be put on an economically sound footing and to develop youth players, something that he sees as being very important. If Chelsea want to even enter the Champions League, Abramovich pledge to reduce his outgoings is the best way forward, and the new rules could put those clubs such as Man City in trouble.
Chelsea have been one of the biggest spenders in world football for the past seven years, but it now seems that those days are over. Roman Abramovich and the club’s hierarchy are determined to make the club self-sufficient, and they seem to be well on the road to doing it. But rather than having negative repurcussions for Chelsea, it could prove to something very positive for the club.