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BANNED: The economic impact of Chelsea’s transfer embargo

It’s been just over a month since Fifa announced plans to ban Chelsea Football Club from buying players for two transfer windows. The West Londoners were found guilty of breaking strict rules on signing under-18 players, with breaches found in 29 cases of the 92 investigated – including that of striker Bertrand Traore, now at Lyon.

Chelsea have since appealed the ban, and that appeal has been denied. Following the protocol of clubs previously in similar situations (Barcelona, Real Madrid & Atletico Madrid), Chelsea have now submitted an appeal with the Court of Arbitration for Sport. This will most likely take months to process, which may earn owner Roman Abramovich one last window to go on a massive spending spree and refresh his struggling squad.

And with star players like Pedro, Willian, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Eden Hazard all having expiring contracts in 12 months, the Chelsea hierarchy will surely be beginning to worry about the economic impact of this transfer embargo.

If and when the transfer ban comes into fruition, Chelsea cannot register players at all. They can agree a deal to sign a player, but he cannot be registered in the squad, and he CANNOT be loaned out/back to his club. So essentially, the player would have to sit out and train only, until the ban is lifted or frozen.

Chelsea could however, agree a deal to sign a player in principle, and complete the signing once the ban is lifted or frozen. This would allow said player to stay and play at his club, but it would have to involve trust and acceptance between the clubs and player, for it to go through.

Barcelona completed the signings of star players Ivan Rakitic and Marc Ander Ter Stegen while awaiting a response on their ban appeal.

One of the biggest cons of a quickly approaching transfer ban is other clubs knowing about it. If Chelsea get one more window to desperately buy as much star quality as possible, clubs will be wary of this and bump up their price tags accordingly. A £40 million player turns into a £70 million panic buy and a world class replacement of Hazard, who looks likely to leave, would cost upwards of £120m.

But does Abramovich have this kind of cash? And does he even want to spend it? The Russian billionaire is reported to be falling out of love with his club after recent problems with managers and senior management, as well as getting a work visa to the UK denied last year.

If Abramovich cannot legally live and work in the country, he definitely won’t want to invest more of his own money into the club; which will leave player sales as Chelsea’s only fundraising method.

This could have similar repercussions as panic-buying players, however. Panic-selling will lead to players leaving on cut-price deals, and Chelsea were going to struggle to recuperate the money spent on players like Morata, Bakayoko and Drinkwater anyway.

No matter what happens now, the club need to do some MAJOR work to improve the playing squad and organisation of how the club is run – on the pitch – whether the transfer ban comes or not.

Maybe now is the time that Chelsea finally start utilising the plethora of young talent in their academies and their ‘loan army’. Instead of hastily splashing out what money they do have, they should give a chance to players like Reece James, Tammy Abraham and Mason Mount who have been playing exceptionally on loan in the Championship this season.

Add that to the talent of Hudson-Odoi and Ruben Loftus-Cheek already in the first team, and you have a spine of a team not seen at Stamford Bridge since the days of John Terry, Frank Lampard, Ashley Cole and Didier Drogba.

They may not win the league next season, or even finish in the top four for that matter, but putting faith in a young bunch of lads with such high potential is a brilliant, sustainable solution to the transfer ban.

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