Loans With Interest : A closer look at Chelsea’s new transfer policy

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With the era of the Financial Fair Play (FFP) set to kick in from next year, teams need to have a cautious eye that their expenditure does not greatly exceed their income in coming years.

While clubs are looking to reduce transfer activity and get their sponsors to sign more lucrative deals, one of the clubs that arguably triggered UEFA to bring about this policy might have just found a way to balance the books without curbing their spending power in the transfer market.

Chelsea was once again right at the centre of the transfer activity this January bringing in Nemanja Matic, Mohamed Salah and Kurt Zouma for a combined transfer fee of £42million.

This would not have been surprising but for the fact that Chelsea have actually made a profit in the transfer window. The departures of Juan Mata and Kevin De Bruyne added £55million to their kitty and as Jose pointed out it’s not hard to “do the math”.

While Mata was an established Chelsea player for the past two seasons who just did not fit Jose’s defensive requirements, it was De Bruyne’s sale that actually showed us a glimpse of how Chelsea’s new transfer policy could play out in the coming years.

Chelsea presently has the most number of players on loan (30) throughout Europe. Most of these players are young prospects and talents who would not find a place at a top club in Europe challenging for titles but would fit right in to mid table clubs.

It is unlikely that more than five or six players actually play for Chelsea in the future but their market value at the time of their purchase and their growth potential is phenomenally high.

Kevin De Bruyne was one such player who was bought from Genk for £6.5million and loan fees included, gave the club a profit of over £10million when he was sold.

His Belgian counterparts Thibaut Courtois and Romelu Lukaku are predicted to become Chelsea stars in the future but if they were to be sold, they would no doubt earn Chelsea a hefty profit which could be used to bring in a world class player to Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea’s agreement with Dutch club Vitesse Arnhem has proved to be a symbiotic relationship for both clubs with Chelsea’s youngsters such as Lukas Piazon, Patrick Van Aanholt and Thomas Kalas in the past getting regular game time and vastly benefit from their loan spell.

Vitesse Arnhem have seemingly benefitted from this agreement as well as the Chelsea loanees have played a big part in the transformation of the club from a relegation candidate to a club that currently occupies a champions league birth for next season.

If Vitesse do make it to the Champions League next year, one can only imagine it being an even more attractive destination for players to go on loan and reap the rewards of European football.

Though the argument of sentimental attachment and accusations of Chelsea treating a player as a commodity are not wrong, the Chelsea loan policy in most cases proves to be a two-way street.

While all the young players dream of playing for Chelsea, most of them know that even if they don’t quite reach that level they can still end of playing regular football at a top club. Chelsea have done very well in finding temporary homes for most of its young players ensuring their development is not stalled on the Chelsea bench or in the reserve team.

For every high profile young player impressing at the top, there are also players like Jhon Pirez and Milan Lalkovic who probably will never be good enough to put on Chelsea jersey in their careers but are promoted by the club anyway sending them to teams where their talent is recognized.

Many players who have left the club in the recent past now ply their trade at top clubs around Europe including Manchester United, Liverpool, PSV Eindhoven and Wolfsburg. None of the players have particularly complained of the treatment handed out to them by Chelsea and their eventual sale greatly benefits both the player and the club.

While the investment on young players with a high ceiling can reap great long term rewards for Chelsea, even those players who might not make the cut, would currently serve to help the club by making substantial profits on their transfer fees.

Players such as Lucas Piazon, Thorgan Hazard and Cristian Atsu are currently lighting up the Eredivisie and the Jupiler leagues might be on many a club’s scouting list.

Jose Mourinho may have hogged the headlines and got the plaudits but a lot of credit needs to go to Michael Emenalo.

Appointed as the technical director of Chelsea in 2011, he has been instrumental in this new transfer policy and his shrewd sense to identify future prospects from scouting reports has proved invaluable to the club.

The only downside of the project in motion is that Chelsea fans may need to develop a thick-skinned attitude to the potential exit of many players who could be fan favourites.

However even the most of ardent of fans would have to agree that letting go of fringe players only to add world class players in positions of need while staying on the right side of the financial fair play rules is a recipe for short-term and long-term success.         

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