Chelsea Football Club‘s transfer spending under Clearlake Capital’s ownership has attracted worldwide attention. Thanks to a loophole in UEFA‘s Financial Fair Play regulations, Chelsea have been able to spend huge sums by spreading a transfer’s cost over a number of years — often, into the next decade, by giving long-term contracts to new signings.
Moises Caicedo is the latest, signed to an eight-year deal after moving from Brighton for an English record fee of up to $146 million. This transfer takes Chelsea‘s spending in the past three transfer windows to over $1 billion USD — with high expectations for the 2023/24 team sure to follow.
$1 billion in signings — is success in store?
The first full season of Clearlake Capital ownership could not have gone much worse for Chelsea. Although not known as a beacon of stability under previous owner Roman Abramovich, the Blues sank to 12th in the table last season and cycled through four head coaches, missing out on European competition entirely.
The answer for Boehly and his co-investors was not to rein in on the spending — but kick it up a notch.
Caicedo is the second $100 million signing that Chelsea have made in six months, and the seventh signing in the past calendar year to arrive in a transaction worth more than $60 million. It’s now up to new coach Mauricio Pochettino to make a cohesive whole out of this group, which began the 2023/24 season with a draw against potential title contenders Liverpool.
A warm welcome
Caicedo had been on Chelsea‘s radar for a while, and the club tried unsuccessfully to sign him in January as well as earlier this summer. A bidding war with Liverpool was enough to draw out the Blues and conclude the deal with Brighton — ensuring Caicedo would join the club he said he always wanted to join.
“I am so excited to be here at this big club, and I didn’t have to think twice when Chelsea called me,” Caicedo said Monday. “It’s a dream come true to be here and I can’t wait.”
Whether Caicedo starts right away in Chelsea’s next game against West Ham United remains to be seen, but the Blues have paid a landmark fee for a player they hope will sit at the base of their midfield for years to come.