What happens if Chelsea miss out on Champions League? Wage cuts, players sold and no Jude Bellingham
Chelsea are closer to the bottom three than the top four after a run of just two wins in 15 Premier League matches.
The Blues are 14 points off fourth place and there is a growing feeling that their next two games — against Leeds and Borussia Dortmund — will be make or break for head coach Graham Potter.
Here, Standard Sport assesses the implications for Chelsea if they miss out on Champions League qualification.
The financial cost
Despite splashing out more than £500million in the biggest spending spree in Premier League history, Chelsea are privately confident they will not be in breach of Financial Fair Play [FFP] rules. But experts believe the club will be sailing close to the wind if they miss out on the £90m-plus of revenue from competing in the Champions League next season.
Matchday income will fall and they will also miss out on prize money, broadcast revenue and commercial money from sponsors. Chelsea made about £120m from winning the Champions League in 2021 and subsequently the Club World Cup last year, so missing out would leave a huge hole in their finances.
Summer transfer targets
Chelsea are not among the favourites to sign Jude Bellingham — and missing out on Champions League qualification would make their task even harder. The Blues will still try to convince the Borussia Dortmund midfielder to move to Stamford Bridge.
They have been able to attract world-class players without the Champions League factor in the past, when they signed N'Golo Kante in 2016, but Real Madrid and Manchester City would be more attractive to Bellingham. It is one of the reasons Chelsea pushed so hard to sign Enzo Fernandez in January, because they feared he would go cold on a move in the summer if they were not in Europe's premier club competition.
Impact on the current squad
To avoid the threat of further FFP scrutiny, Chelsea could be forced to cash in on some home-grown stars. The club is already planning a clear-out of the squad and selling some home-grown players would be pure profit under the new version of UEFA's financial sustainability rules, so academy graduates fear they could be the first to be sold.
Conor Gallagher has interest from Newcastle and Crystal Palace, while Trevoh Chalobah is wanted by Inter Milan. Even Mason Mount, who will be entering the final year of his contract, could be sold, with Liverpool, Manchester United and Man City all monitoring his situation.
Stars will also take a financial hit
The players will face significant wage cuts. Chelsea structure contracts with clauses to reduce the weekly wage of players if they miss out on the Champions League, a move designed to protect the club from the drop in revenue.
The club's reputation
It has been reported that Chelsea are in talks with a number of companies over a lucrative shirt sponsor to replace Three. The club needs to increase commercial revenues and its £40m-a-year deal with Three runs out at the end of this season.
Chelsea hope to get close to, or better, the £67.5m-a-year deal that Manchester City have with Etihad. But will prospective sponsors find Chelsea as attractive without the Champions League?