Roman Numerals; Recruiting All-Star Cast Makes Chelsea the Biggest Payer as Wage Bill Hits [Pounds Sterling]73m: Cost of the Russian Revolution

By Cornwall, Philip | The Evening Standard (London, England), August 7, 2003 | Go to article overview

Roman Numerals; Recruiting All-Star Cast Makes Chelsea the Biggest Payer as Wage Bill Hits [Pounds Sterling]73m: Cost of the Russian Revolution


Cornwall, Philip, The Evening Standard (London, England)


Byline: PHILIP CORNWALL

THOUGH there is no guarantee it will land them the championship, Chelsea's transfer frenzy under Roman Abramovich is set to rocket them to the top of the Premiership wage-bill table.

The Russian oil billionaire's deep pockets can probably cope, but the new arrivals this summer are likely to take their annual expenditure on salaries to more than [pounds sterling]70million. At a time when other top clubs are reducing their expenditure, this total should comfortably exceed their rivals'.

Chelsea's wage bill has increased steadily over the past few seasons and reached [pounds sterling]55.9m for 2001-02 - a rise of 11 per cent from the previous year, according to the Deloitte and Touche Review of Football Finance published last month.

This will have risen little last summer, when Chelsea splashed out just [pounds sterling]500,000 on transfers, but the [pounds sterling]58.5m spent by Abramovich this year will change that.

Juan Veron is the latest signing, following some differences of opinion within the Chelsea hierarchy about whether he was worth the [pounds sterling]15m fee to Manchester United and the wage demands that exceeded [pounds sterling]95,000 per week. It was decided that the answer was yes (though there is a limit to Chelsea's largesse, because the club were unwilling to meet Christian Vieri's demands for [pounds sterling]110,000 a week).

The club had already agreed lucrative long-term contracts with Glen Johnson (bought for [pounds sterling]6m from West Ham), Damien Duff ([pounds sterling]17m from Blackburn), Geremi ([pounds sterling]7m from Real Madrid), Wayne Bridge ( [pounds sterling] 7 m from Southampton) and Joe Cole ([pounds sterling]6.6m from West Ham) and are lining up one more possible signing.

John Ter ry, Eidur Gudjohnsenand William Gallas, meanwhile-all received major pay rises in contract extensions signed after Abramovich took over, reflecting their rise in status since their previous deals.

Even allowing for the exit of players such as Mark Bosnich and Gianfranco Zola in recent months, this means Chelsea's wage bill will rise by at least [pounds sterling]12m - this figure is likely to increase if they secure another signing - compared to this time last year, soaring above the totals for the three clubs who previously spent more than them.

Manchester United have shed Veron and David Beckham this summer and are yet to splash out on major high-profile replacements. Though the acquisition of Rio Ferdinand will have taken their total well above the Deloitte and Touche figure of [pounds sterling]69. …

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