Chelsea shrugs off cost-of-living crisis

Premier League - Chelsea v Crystal Palace
Soccer - Football - Premier League - Chelsea v Crystal Palace - Stamford Bridge, London, Britain - January 15, 2023. Action Images via REUTERS/Peter Cziborra

LONDON, Feb 1 (Reuters Breakingviews) - The cost-of-living crisis has yet to reach soccer players. Chelsea Football Club, owned by a consortium led by American businessman Todd Boehly, spent a record 330 million euros in the January player transfer window, according to Transfermarkt. It brings total spending on footballers since the Los Angeles Dodgers owner acquired the club last May to over 600 million euros.

Chelsea’s spending on players like Enzo Fernández or Mykhailo Mudryk puts rivals in the shade. Tottenham Hotspur only signed two players in January for a total of 8 million euros. It also brings total spending by Premier League clubs this season to a record 2.8 billion pounds, beating the 1.86 billion pounds spent in the 2017/18 season.

The Boehly-led consortium bought Chelsea from Roman Abramovich for 2.5 billion pounds, equivalent to a toppy 5.7 times trailing sales. Spending even more money now may boost Chelsea’s performance and merchandising revenue. The risk is that it triggers scrutiny from the Union of European Football Associations, the sport’s governing body in Europe. It is already reining in the amount clubs can spend on wages and transfer costs to ensure fair play, and could tighten the rules further. If so, Chelsea’s binge could be an own goal. (By Streisand Neto)

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(The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are their own.)

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