Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich led the charge to get out of the European Super League, with the reasons behind his move now becoming apparent.
Abramovich stepped in to pull Chelsea out of the Super League on Tuesday, having listened to the depth of feeling from club supporters in opposing the radical plans. Yet it has now emerged that Abramovich was always one of the more sceptical participants in the inflammatory project. An idea fronted by Florentino Perez, which was aimed at generating as much cash as possible for the clubs involved.
The Russian owner of Chelsea has always insisted his ownership of the club was never about profit or simply money. His motivation has been different to the foreign owners who have invested in English clubs to make huge profits.
Now it has emerged that Chelsea and Manchester City were the two clubs who showed most hesitation before signing up. In fact they only agreed after fearing they may be left behind if they did not join the rest of Europe’s big clubs.
Chelsea were then the first English club to declare their intention to withdraw from the project. They released this statement to confirm their decision: “Chelsea Football Club can confirm that it has begun the formal procedures for withdrawal from the group developing plans for a European Super League,” it read, after fans protested against the club’s involvement in the Super League ahead of Tuesday night’s game against Brighton.
“Having joined the group late last week, we have now had time to consider the matter fully and have decided that our continued participation in these plans would not be in the best interests of the Club, our supporters or the wider football community.”
The huge cash windfalls being proposed by Super League organisers were not a driving force for Chelsea’s participation. And a leading football agent has told TEAMtalk that the Blues now believe they can cash in on the fall-out.
After Real Madrid President Florentino Perez suggested it was “impossible” for his club to sign players like Erling Haaland and Kylian Mbappe without the dawn of a Super League and the riches it would bring, there is now a feeling Chelsea will be in a strong position to seal big-money transfers this summer.
Manchester United, Liverpool and Arsenal have all hinted their transfer spending will be limited this summer. That could open the door for Chelsea to make a big-money moves for Haaland. The prolific Borussia Dortmund striker is believed to be top of their wanted list.
Abramovich’s cash reserves ensure Chelsea can withstand the challenges presented by the coronavirus pandemic. And they now appear to be in pole position to make offers that could blow their rivals away.
Chelsea made some statements of intent with a £200m spending spree last summer. Haaland though has reportedly suggested he is not interested in a move to Stamford Bridge. However, that position could change if it is one of the only offers on the table.
Our source also suggested he expects transfer spending to be suppressed across Europe this summer. That could see players of Haaland’s calibre remaining at their current clubs for an additional 12 months.