Know what your team needs. Use the transfer market to address those needs. Buy early in the market and avoid inflated prices. Sell players at a premium. Use the preseason to integrate those players into the squad. Come out of the gates flying when the season begins.
These logical statements seem plausible, but those of us who follow soccer know things rarely pan out in the most ideal way. However, the one club who have managed to follow those rules since the transfer window opened in July are Chelsea FC, who had arguably the best transfer window of the summer and perhaps one of the best in the last decade.
There were bound to be a number of changes at Stamford Bridge after last season’s disappointing campaign, that saw them fall short in the Premier League (finished third), the Champions League (Semi-final exit) and both league cups. With manager Jose Mourinho insisting over the course of last season his “little horses” were not yet ready to compete for trophies, he used this summer’s transfer market to ensure his pony grew into a stallion.
Chelsea’s needs were evident. Number one, they had lacked a top striker since the departure of Didier Drogba in 2012. Second, a central midfielder was needed to replace the departing legend, Frank Lampard. Lastly, Chelsea needed cover in defense, after they chose to let Ashley Cole leave on a free transfer to Roma after his contract expired.
Manager Jose Mourinho and owner Roman Abromovich made sure to address these needs quickly and with top quality players. After being linked with several top strikers, they focused their efforts on Atletico Madrid star, Diego Costa. Costa had his medical in June and the 32 million pound move was official on July 15th. A deal with Barcelona for former Arsenal standout, Cesc Fabregas, was verbally agreed upon in June, well before the transfer window even opened with the move made official in July. Lastly, Chelsea signed defender Filipe Luis from Atletico Madrid on July 16th thus leading Jose Mourinho to insist Chelsea were done buying.
While the club moved quickly to secure the targets at the top of their list, they also did well to sell a number of players for large sums. The comedic (on and off the field) defender David Luiz was sold to PSG for a ridiculous sum of £50 million, while Everton purchased Romelu Lukaku for a club record 28 million pounds. A £10 million profit from what Chelsea bought him for a few years ago. They made another £7.5 million on the sales of Patrick Van Aanholt and Demba Ba.
And on the last day of the transfer window, while teams like Manchester United and Arsenal scrambled and overpaid to improve their squads, Chelsea quietly signed the efficient Loic Remy to add depth to their strike force. All in all, Chelsea vastly improved their squad and joined only Southampton and Tottenham as the three Premier League teams to make a profit this summer.
Chelsea, this summer, are an example of how to perfectly use the transfer window.