It’s the start of July, and that means players return to their clubs to begin preparations for the upcoming Premier League starting in a little over a month’s time.
While clubs begin in earnest to ready themselves for the challenge that awaits in 2017-2018, the never-ending source of frustration and chaos known as the transfer window continues to rumble on.
For Chelsea, it’s been a summer of frustration so far. Aside from the arrival of 35-year-old goalkeeper Willy Caballero on a free transfer, the Blues have yet to add a significant piece to a side that lifted the Premier League trophy in May.
It’s not for lack of trying, though. Targets have been identified and negotiations are ongoing, but just as Tiemoue Bakayoko and Antonio Rudiger are rumoured to be signing in the near future, the signings of targets such as Romelu Lukaku and Alex Sandro are still being worked on.
While it looks as if history is repeating itself, that might not entirely be the case. Sure, the summer transfer window in 2015 was a complete disaster, and Chelsea failed to land any of the preferred targets of then-manager Jose Mourinho, but in the two years since, the financial landscape of football has changed quite a bit.
With the new Premier League television deal starting in 2016-2017, the revenue generated by clubs in the top division of English football has grown astronomically. With each Premier League club earning around £85 million from television alone, the spending power of English teams has never been higher.
The knock-on effect of the Premier League’s commercial success is that English teams are now being asked to pay top dollar for any players, whether it be from teams in Europe trying to extract vast sums of cash for their assets or other English sides wanting to hold on to their prized assets.
In fact, as of 3 July, of the 10 highest transfer fees for players in the top five leagues in Europe, seven of them have involved Premier League sides.
It’s little wonder that teams like Chelsea are having trouble landing transfer targets, especially if a club is looking for value for their money. With Premier League sides being asked to break club records for transfer fees, it makes sense that transfer negotiations are a little more complicated, particularly if the selling club has no need to sell.
The lack of activity from Chelsea in the transfer market is a concern, but it is just the start of July. If August comes around and new signings have yet to arrive, the alarm bells just beginning to make some noise.