When everyone else zigzagged in the transfer market last summer, Chelsea zigzagged.
Thanks to the support of Roman Abramovich and partly encouraged by last year’s ban, they fueled the coronavirus trend by spending high costs when clubs around them lost weight.
A total of seven players arrived for around £ 220 million, adding depth to a line-up that 12 months ago saw a youth revolution that provided excitement but marked the need to add experience.
So they charged, landing Kai Havertz, Tim Werner and Ben Chilwell for decent fees, with insightful acquisitions like veteran quarterback Thiago Silva and future hopeful Malang Sarr, for free.
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Chelsea are not exempt from significant losses caused by empty stadiums and rebates, but the wealth and willingness of the owners to continue to sanction large inscriptions have put them in a position of comparative strength.
So, what is likely to happen this summer when most of the upper sides are still handcuffed by the pandemic? Is Chelsea going again or is it taking a more prudent approach in line with the vast majority of the industry that is increasingly concerned about the bursting of their bubble?
At the top of the priority list is another number nine and, although the team has one of the best defensive records in Europe since the arrival of Thomas Tuchel as head coach, it may try to strengthen the back line as well.
The size of the budgets available to Tuchel, technical advisor Petar Cech and director Marina Granovskaia comes down to two direct factors. The first is whether the “Bank of Rome” remains open. Another need is to meet UEFA’s financial fair play rules, which are also subject to significant change.
At the moment, there is little room to play with them according to current criteria – but not an indecent amount.
For another big breakup to happen, there will have to be a number of exits, but that’s not a big issue, as Chelsea have a long habit of making a profit from selling players, ensuring their net spending stands well unlike many competitors.
In 2019/20. They have made around £ 140 million thanks to the sale of Eden Hazard and Alvaro Morata, and although it is unlikely that any of their current players will be spared in the next window, the forthcoming loan limit may see the club unload a number of players believed to be surplus.
Tiemoue Bakayoko, Michy Batshuayi, Davide Zappacosta, Danny Drinkwater and Baba Rahman are among those currently on loan with no clear path to return to the first team.
Other than the first two, the club is unlikely to recoup significant fees, but the accumulation could result in a significant return that reduces any concerns about FFP.
That would free up enough space for them to chase Erling Halland from Borussia Dortmund or recruit another central defender, if they wish.
Sealing the Champions League qualifiers is important as it could ultimately be worth north of £ 100 million. But the omission won’t have as profound an impact compared to Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur or Liverpool.
As always, Abramovich is a trump card. His recent interview with Forbes was most significant in that he spoke in the minutes. He may not have contained any revelations, but his unfettered commitment to the club was clear.
And that alone is enough to give Chelsea the advantage when the next window opens.