Why Chelsea, Aston Villa, Newcastle and Everton are involved in bizarre win-win transfer merry-go-round before June 30

3 weeks ago 27

IT is already looking like a transfer merry-go-round that makes no sense.

A host of players, most of them not even household names in their own homes, being moved between the same quartet of clubs for big bucks.

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Aston Villa are looking to cash in on Omari Kellyman[/caption]
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Lewis Dobbin has moved to Villa from Everton[/caption]

But if you didn’t already know quite why Aston Villa, Chelsea, Everton and Newcastle are engaged in a footballing version of shuffleboard, you only need three letters to find the reason – P, S and R.

Yes, the Premier League’s controversial, but – and remaining for at least one more season – Profitability and Sustainability Rules.

The ones that saw Everton and Nottingham Forest deducted points last season and are already set to cost Leicester in the table almost as soon as the new campaign begins in August.

And the ones that only let teams make £105million of “allowable losses” over three seasons.

Villa’s failed attempt to get the leeway margin lifted at this month’s summer meeting of the 20 clubs served to confirm the end of season direction of travel.

Accounts for the 2023-24 campaign actually run until June 30 – the “official” end of term.

For months, we have known that as many as eight clubs were in danger of breaching PSR for this campaign.

And after last season’s deductions proved the rules have genuine teeth, they do not want to be the next victims.

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Newcastle came out of the blocks to admit their concerns in January, soon followed by Villa, while Everton’s issues have been played out in public.

As for Chelsea, they have gone on the front foot, insisting there were no issues.

But that was because they were confident of being allowed to sell £80m worth of hotels that are part of the Stamford Bridge plot to the club’s holding company – which appears to have been kiboshed by Prem lawyers.

In addition to the four, the clubs thought to have issues include Forest, while even new Manchester United owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe has suggested PSR has to be taken into account this summer.

And while there is NOTHING wrong in what Villa, Chelsea, Everton and Newcastle are doing, it does smack of an accountancy trick more than a necessarily obvious series of football decisions.

Everton sold Lewis Dobbin to Villa for around £10m and Tim Iroegbunam moved the other way for £9m.

The Villans are set to send midfielder Omari Kellyman to Chelsea for £19m and, potentially, Colombian striker Jhon Duran to the Londoners for up to £40m.

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Ian Maatsen is at Euro 2024 with the Netherlands[/caption]
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Jhon Duran has struggled for game time at Villa[/caption]

Chelsea, in turn, will sell left-back Ian Maatsen – fresh from his loan spell at Dortmund – to Villa for a fee of around £20m.

Everton were set to cash in on Dominic Calvert-Lewin for a fee that could reach £35m and take winger Yankuba Minteh from the Toon for a significant cash outlay.

Those final two deals are reportedly off but both players could still be on the move.

In normal circumstances, the situation would look more than odd.
But it is all about the PSR rules – and the need to get round the regulations.

First of all, you have to remember that REAL accountancy and football accountancy are NOT the same thing.

Far from it – although, in the longer term, the books DO need to balance.

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Chelsea have held talks with Jonathan David’s representatives, according to reports.

Meanwhile, Newcastle have reportedly pulled out of the race to sign Everton striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin.

Elsewhere, Bayern Munich have agreed a £50million deal to sign Crystal Palace star Michael Olise, according to reports.

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All transfer fees paid are “amortised” over the length of the contract for the buying club.

But can be banked for the full value for the selling club – unless they were originally signed form another club and the initial contract has not yet expired.

So Chelsea would nominally pay just £12m per season for Kellyman and Duran, while Villa would be able to claim transfer profit on the two of around £46m – they still “owe” Chicago Fire £12.5m for Duran.

And Chelsea’s receipt of the full value for Maatsen leaves BOTH clubs in credit.

It is the same with the other deals.

Everton would have banked the full value of the Calvert-Lewin deal with their outlay on the three new faces just £8m.

Villa make money, nominally, while Newcastle can calculate a small profit on the swap.

It is not the only such deals that Villa are looking to finalise, with Brazilian Douglas Luiz set to move to Juventus for £42m in a cash exchange that would see Samuel Iling-Junior and Enzo Barrenechea come the other way for a combined £19m.

There is, potentially a caveat.

Spurs fans have already pointed out that Tottenham had to release sporting director Fabio Paratici after he was found to have orchestrated the player swap “plusvalenza” scandal when he was at Juve, in which a number of clubs were found to have artificially inflated the nominal value of transfer deals.

And while no such fingers are being pointed at the Prem clubs, League legal chiefs are likely to want to ensure that none of the clubs are deliberately agreeing inflated fees merely to get round the rulebook.

It is likely, too, that this will be a one-off this season.

At that summer meeting, the 20 clubs agreed to operate a “shadow” version mirroring Uefa’s “squad cost ratio” regulations next term, prior to full introduction in 2025-26.

That will see teams not in Europe limited to spending 85 per cent of their revenues in wages and transfers in a year, while being “anchored” to paying out around five times the revenues of the lowest-earning Prem club.

The teams playing in Uefa competitions are limited to 80 per cent next season, dropping to 70 per cent from 2025 onwards.

But that is for then, not now. And for now, it is about finding a way to make the rules work. However bizarre it seems.

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