Chelsea Fights Dirty: Todd Boehly and $258m Chelsea transfers just prompted fresh Liverpool question for FSG

Christian Pulisic could continue a Chelsea transfer trend potentially worth $258m, painting a damning picture of the current landscape for FSG and Liverpool.

When the Premier League schedule for the forthcoming season was made public a few weeks ago, Liverpool learned it would be visiting Chelsea on the first weekend.

This is generally one of the most eagerly awaited games of the year, but this time it’s extra intriguing since both teams underperformed so severely in 2017.

Todd Boehly

After previously challenging for the championship, Liverpool dropped out of the top four, while Chelsea’s decline was on a completely different plane. The Blues finished the season with four different head coaches in charge, giving them the lowest finish of any elite team during the “big six” period in 12th place.

Mauricio Pochettino, who is regarded as one of the top managers in Europe, has officially been named as Graham Potter’s permanent replacement at Chelsea, but the team is still in transition. It’s difficult to assess their chances for the upcoming season at this time because the team is still very much in the formative stages.

In light of a record-breaking $767 million (£600 million/€698 million) spending spree that looked set to catch up with them, Liverpool may have been hopeful that the Blues would be weakened by the restrictions of Financial Fair Play.

Klopp

Chelsea needed a summer “fire sale” to assure compliance with the laws, as The Times had predicted as early as March. This has happened, but not in the way that most people anticipated.

Amazingly, Chelsea has been able to sell players for a majority of outstanding rates and on its own terms despite its well-publicized crisis.

After the German’s trying time at Stamford Bridge, Arsenal has agreed to spend up to $83m/£65m/€76m to recruit Kai Havertz (via BBC Sport). This brings Arsenal unexpectedly near to Chelsea’s $90m (£71m/€83m) 2020 outlay. He has made just 139 appearances for the club, scoring 32 goals and dishing out 15 assists.

Mason Mount, who was considered by Liverpool but was more likely to sign with Manchester United, is expected to bring in a similar amount for Chelsea. According to The Times, Manchester United is planning to part ways with Mount because the price has grown too high. If a compromise can be reached, though, Chelsea has already rejected offers of up to $70 million (£55 million/€64 million), which would have been a magnificent sum for a player who is about to enter the final year of his contract and could have left for free at any time.

Mateo Kovai, another player with one year remaining and who, at 29, was outside the appropriate age range, was acquired by Manchester City for $38 million (£30 million/€35 million) in a separate transaction, according to The Athletic.

There are other athletes headed for the Saudi Pro League. Both Kalidou Koulibaly, 32, and Édouard Mendy, who has dropped behind Kepa Arrizabalaga in the goalkeeping ranks since joining Napoli last summer, are expected to earn $22 million (£17 million/€20 million) when they sign with Al-Hilal and Al-Ahli, respectively.

The only unimpressive cost is the $10 million (£8 million/€9 million) Hakim Ziyech is expected to fetch for Chelsea, but given that he played less than 1,000 minutes for the Blues last season, it was more important to find him a new team than anything else.

Finally, Chelsea may still be happy with a suggested return of $258 million from player sales, with more to come. Additionally, Marc Cucurella, Callum Hudson-Odoi, Christian Pulisic, Romelu Lukaku, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, and others could leave.

Mission player sales has been a roaring success* Havertz: £67m, Kovacic: £30m, Koulibaly: £17m, Ziyech: £8m, Overall: £122m. Next: Mendy (£17m?), Mount (£60m?), Lukaku, Aubameyang, Hudson-Odoi, Pulisic, Cucurella.

*Helped by Saudi Arabia. 🇸🇦 standard.co.uk/sport/football #CFC

 

What will FSG, another notable US owner in the league, think of these developments?

You sense that it will only increase their motivation to find a good investor for Liverpool, though.

If FSG fears that it won’t be able to compete with teams like Chelsea and Manchester City in the long run (which is one of the reasons it initially sought a minority sale), and if the former follows an unprecedented spending spree with a quick and lucrative clearout to solve the potential problem, then it will paint a somewhat damning picture of how easily these clubs can maneuver the current regulatory landscape.

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