Will Financial Fair Play Prevent Chelsea From Adding a Top Striker?

By Greg Sulik
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It seems that Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has had enough of his strikers. He has repeatedly been critical of his attacking trio of Fernando Torres, Samuel Eto’o and Demba Ba this season, most recently choosing to start midfielder Andre Schurrle atop the formation in last week’s Champions League clash with PSG. Mourinho’s post game comments made it clear that Chelsea will be targeting a striker in the summer transfer window, but what options do the Blues actually have?

By all appearances Chelsea have a new found commitment to following UEFA’s Financial Fair Play rules, which restrict the amount of financial losses a club can record over a two year period. The goal of this is to prevent wealthy clubs like Chelsea, especially those with owners who have more money than they know what to do with (again, like Chelsea), from spending whatever they want to bring in elite talents. Given those restrictions, it would seem that Chelsea could be in a tight spot when it comes to targeting a big name striker.

There doesn’t appear to be much expensive talent that the Blues could send out this offseason, as David Luiz’s importance has grown and Ba figures to only bring a marginal return. The team could actually sell Thibault Courtouis to Atletico Madrid instead of another loan, but that doesn’t seem to be a move that interests Chelsea, and rightfully so. Personally, I think Chelsea should give Romelu Lukaku a legitimate chance, but it sounds like he will be sold. Finally, Mourinho made it clear that he has no intention of selling a star like Eden Hazard or Oscar to pay for a striker, as that really wouldn’t accomplish anything.

What this means is that Chelsea will likely sell off multiple role players or prospects and use those returns and the money from Lukaku’s sale to fund a big purchase. The most likely target for Chelsea is Diego Costa, who has been brilliant for Atletico this season. Radamel Falcao is another possibility, with Edison Cavani and Jackson Martinez looking like fallback plans. Any of those players would obviously come at significant cost, which is why Chelsea would have to sell several lesser players to soften the financial blow and adhere to FFP regulations.

However, what works in Chelsea’s favor is the fact that striker is their only significant need. As long as Chelsea limits its activity to one big acquisition, they shouldn’t have too much difficulty staying within FFP guidelines. If Chelsea were looking for multiple key additions, they would have some issues making the finances work. However, a world class striker is the only missing piece of the puzzle needed for Chelsea to win the Premier League and the Champions League. It will be tricky, but as long as Chelsea only makes one major move, they should be able to both abide by FFP and strengthen their squad.

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