Todd Boehly opens up on £1bn Chelsea transfer spend and reasons for long player contracts

Todd Boehly, co-owner of Chelsea
Todd Boehly, co-owner of Chelsea -Credit:Alex Pantling/Getty Images

Chelsea co-owner Todd Boehly has explained the thought process behind the club's approach to transfers and player contracts.

Ever since Boehly and Clearlake Capital arrived onto the scene as Chelsea's new owners back in May 2022, more than £1billion has been spent on transfers. The use of seven-, eight- and nine-year deals for players has also been the focus of much scrutiny and criticism.

Thus far, despite a strong competitive performance on the pitch in the 2024 calendar year, Chelsea have missed out on lucrative Champions League qualification for the second season in a row. Despite the Blues having broken the British transfer record twice in the space of 12 months, the team has not delivered so far on the money spent.

The long contracts, which have helped the club reduce annual amortisation charges on the balance sheet - which is the way that transfer fees are accounted for - are now no longer permitted by UEFA or the Premier League, with amortisation capped at five years. Playing contracts can still be longer than five years.

But despite the lack of success so far, Boehly is bullish about the future and explained the thesis behind the contract plan. Speaking at Bloomberg’s Qatar Economic Forum, Boehly said: "Winning is clearly the most important thing.

"We're focused on winning. The second thing is having what we think is a really young and exciting team, right? You know, that's going to be around together for a long time because if you look at franchises that dominate for periods of time, it's because they have real stability in the team, front office, and the coaching.

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"To be able to lay the groundwork, you have to be able to start with the stability on the team, by having a young team that has longer than average contracts. The reality is in European football, if you're on a seven-year contract, the way we look at it is really it's a five-year contract, right?

"Because the capitalisation of the transfer value is such that you're never going to let a contract expire down to the last year. You're either going to extend the contract or you're going to figure out what's next for that player. So, when we were looking at that, we're thinking a lot about how do we have stability, how do we have a core?”

Boehly also addressed the transfer spend of the club, which has been by far and away the most aggressive of any team in European football. The Blues have paid £115m for Moises Caicedo and £106m for Enzo Fernandez, figures seen in some quarters as well above the market value.

Boehly said: "When people talk about spending, the way I think about it is that we're investing and we have a collection of players, and really those players continue to hold their value. It's not as if we're kind of writing off the money or the investment.

"What we're thinking about is: what does it really cost to finance that portfolio of players? Some players will go up in value and some players will go down in value, but I would argue that the investments that we've made continue to hold their value, and really we're not spending the money, we're investing the money and just thinking about the cost to carry that portfolio of players that are obviously so valuable."