In the rest of Europe, the fear is a little more material. Chelsea, an executive at a major continental club, said it had “destroyed the market”, a sentiment backed by Javier Tebas, the president of La Liga, Spain’s top division. “The British market is doped up,” he said. “It’s a competition that has been losing billions of pounds in recent years, funded by contributions from patrons, in this case loss-making American investors.”
While all executives immediately understood the purpose of Chelsea’s extended contracts, most were puzzled as to whether the club was boldly exploiting an inefficiency in the market or mortgaging its future. After all, extending the contracts could reduce the immediate financial impact on Chelsea’s accounts and therefore help the club meet European football’s theoretical cost control mechanisms, but it does not represent the flow of actual equipment box.
Chelsea still have to pay short-term transfer fees. He still has to commit to paying players several million dollars more than he might have if they were on more standard-length contracts. He still has to trust each of them to fulfill their undoubted potential. It still faces the risk of being saddled with expensive real estate in the coming years if they don’t.
Selling players has certainly been a bit more of a challenge for Chelsea. While Eghbali was negotiating for Fernandez and Boehly was making his latest bid for Amrabat, one of Chelsea’s current players, Hakim Ziyech, was sitting in the offices of Paris St.-Germain, waiting for confirmation of his departure.
The deal had been in the works for a week or so. At one point, talks had been relaxed enough that Boehly had suggested that PSG’s owner, the Qatar Investment Authority, would like to help Chelsea with the stadium project. However, as the minutes of the transfer deadline ticked away, PSG officials became concerned about Chelsea’s lack of communication.
Five minutes before the deadline, at 22:55 local time, Chelsea finally submitted a document. It was the wrong one. When this was pointed out, a second soon followed. It was not signed. By the time the new bug was fixed, it was too late. The deadline had passed. PSG have not been able to register the signing.
A bewildered Ziyech had to return to west London, where a host of new team-mates await him, including at least two who play for him. Chelsea have little need for him now. He has to pay his salary, however, for another six months.