The Star (Kenya)
Stakes high for Lampard
Chelsea agreed a deal with Hakim Ziyech in February and have continued their spending with Kai Havertz, Ben Chilwell and Thiago Silva.
“Statue for Marina please” was one tweet that summed up the feelings of many Chelsea fans after the club signed Kai Havertz in a £71m deal on Friday.
That praise for director Marina Granovskaia reflected her part in negotiating a price with Bayer Leverkusen £18m short of the German side’s previous valuation and showed further evidence of her ruthless streak.
Chelsea have now spent about £200m on six major signings, with two of them free, making them by far the most active Premier League team during this transfer window. And it might not stop there, with the club also having submitted a bid for Rennes goalkeeper Edouard Mendy.
It is also the most they have spent in one summer, eclipsing the £186m they invested at the start of the 201718 season, which included a then club record £60m on flop Alvaro Morata.
Former Blues winger Pat Nevin says Chelsea “aren’t just building a team, they’re building a dynasty” under manager Frank Lampard, who starts his second season in charge when his team travel to Brighton on Monday.
But how did Chelsea come to spend so much money when others are tightening their belts, and what can we expect from them?
Chelsea’s chief negotiator Granovskaia is highly regarded for her ability to get a good deal, but there is no doubting the club has also benefited from a unique combination of factors this summer.
While every other club has been taking a more cautious financial approach because of the uncertainty surrounding coronavirus, Chelsea did their saving last summer, thanks to a transfer ban —although they still paid £40m for Mateo Kovacic, who was already with them on loan.
Of course Russian billionaire owner Roman Abramovich is not short of a few roubles, but his spending has been in line with Financial Fair Play regulations, which were introduced in 2011 and will now be suspended for 12 months because of the pandemic.
Chelsea also banked money from selling Eden Hazard to Real Madrid in a deal that could exceed £150m, and have since received about £60m from Morata’s move to Atletico Madrid.
So although Lampard was frustrated at failing to land any targets in January once the transfer ban was lifted, the delay has allowed him to strike while other clubs have been more cautious.
Nevin, who played for the Blues from 1983-1988, argues Chelsea’s transfer policy might look “extreme”