Enzo Maresca is already part of £196m Chelsea gamble as FFP issue laid bare

Leicester City Manager Enzo Maresca gestures during the Sky Bet Championship match against Preston North E
-Credit: (Image: MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

The last few years have seen transfer deals between Chelsea and Leicester City become a common occurrence. The latest saw Cesare Casadei spend the first half of the season on loan at the King Power Stadium before returning to Chelsea in January.

But moves have mostly been the other way around and that looks set to continue as the Blues conclude their managerial search. Enzo Maresca looks set to become the latest Leicester man to complete a move to Stamford Bridge with the Italian the prime candidate to take over from Mauricio Pochettino.

If the move is completed, Chelsea will be set to pay a compensation fee of around £9million to Leicester. Maresca’s buyout clause in his contract increased once the Foxes won promotion back to the Premier League.

Chelsea have not been shy to splash the cash under both the stewardship of Roman Abramovic and Todd Boehly. And Leicester have been one of the big beneficiaries of that.

Since the summer of 2016, Chelsea have signed four Leicester players with the fee increasing every time, and some deals have been more successful than others.

N’Golo Kante was the first, signing for a fee of £32million just months after lifting the Premier League trophy with Leicester. One year later Chelsea signed his midfield partner Danny Drinkwater for £35million.

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Full-back Ben Chilwell followed three years later in the summer of 2020, as Chelsea paid £50million for the Leicester academy graduate. He was joined at Stamford Bridge by defender Wesley Fofana in the summer of 2022 with the Blues paying a further £70million.

Adding in the £9million that Chelsea are expected to pay Leicester for Maresca, the total over the last eight years comes to £196million. Like several of the players signed from Leicester over the years, if the new manager is a success or not is still to be seen.

The figure comes amid worries around complying with the Premier League’s Profitability and Sustainability rules (PSRs) this year. Back in March the Blues announced a £90.1million loss for the 2022/23 season , following two years of losses over the £100m mark.

It may mean that Chelsea have to cash in on some players before thinking about delving back into the transfer market in the summer transfer window. Therefore, paying out £9million in compensation for a manager yet to prove himself in the Premier League is a big risk.

While the fee may not seem much in the grand scheme of things, added to the transfer fees already paid out to just one club over the last eight years highlights the stark reality of the money that has been spent by the club. Chelsea will be hoping that the risk on Maresca pays off and £9million looks like a bargain just like the first deal with Leicester for Kante did.