How Todd Boehly’s US Trading Method Could Become The Key To Chelsea’s Summer Transfer Business
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Since taking over at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea co-owner Todd Boehly has decided to take a very hands-on approach to running the football club.
The swift exits of long-term Chairman Bruce Buck and Director Marina Granovskaia has essentially streamlined operations to run solely through Boehly, at least for now, with the announcement of his appointment as both Chairman and interim sporting director confirming this.
This has also been added to by the confirmation of Petr Cech’s departure at the end of the month as the Club’s Technical and Performance Advisor. Replacements - including Michael Edwards and Paul Mitchell - have been linked as the Blues’ search goes on for a new sporting director.
With such a huge shift in personnel, it is likely that Chelsea can expect things to be run differently at the club moving forward, with one key theme already beginning to emerge in terms of transfer policy.
Boehly is a co-owner of Major League Baseball franchise Los Angeles Dodgers and is, as it appears, looking to transfer some of his baseball tactics across the Atlantic by using player trade deals as a serious negotiation tool this summer in an attempt to offload unwanted players and bring in the signings Thomas Tuchel wants.
The hope of swapping a player from Inter Milan in return for Romelu Lukaku’s transfer is a sign of how Boehly is looking to be resourceful with trades, even if it failed on this occasion.
Inter Milan CEO Giuseppe Marotta on Romelu Lukaku:— Absolute Chelsea (@AbsoluteChelsea) June 28, 2022
"He's arriving tonight, probably."
With that in mind, AbsoluteChelsea has taken a look at some of the trade deals that could potentially unfold this window and whether this is a method we might see Chelsea using more often in the future.
Who Chelsea could look to sign using trade deals?
Matthijs De Ligt
Speculation has started to gather pace linking Matthijs de Ligt with a move to Chelsea this summer amid uncertainty over his future in Turin following contract talks with the club.
The Dutch centre-back is reported to be Thomas Tuchel’s top defensive target, but the 22-year-old has a £100 million release clause, which is likely to put a straight cash move off the table, with Chelsea claimed to be ready to offer Timo Werner plus a fee to secure De Ligt.
Juventus are apparently interested in Werner too, meaning there is room to negotiate, however the value of Werner could prove to be a sticking point between the clubs.
Another player Chelsea could look to use in talks is Jorginho, with the midfielder linked with a return to Italy and plenty of Serie A clubs interested in his services. Boehly could possibly use Jorginho in a bid for De Ligt but would need to find a replacement first.
Long-term target Declan Rice could become the subject of a transfer tussle between Chelsea and West Ham this summer, with Boehly keen on a marquee signing at Stamford Bridge, however that could come in the form of Raheem Sterling.
West Ham are adamant that Rice isn’t for sale with two years left on his deal plus the option of a further year, valuing him in the region of £150 million, making any hopes of a deal this summer very slim.
Chelsea do have some bargaining chips which could sweeten a bitter pill for West Ham to take, such as Armando Broja, allegedly David Moyes number one attacking target this summer. With the Hammers interested in Broja, Tuchel’s side could look to use the Albania international in a deal to make an offer for their prized-asset, Rice, more attractive.
Other players who could be considered are Billy Gilmour, publicly praised by David Moyes previously, whilst Ross Barkley and Michy Batshuayi are viable outside bets.
With Chelsea looking to add new attackers to their front-line, Richarlison emerged as a potential target, however there is interest from Arsenal and Spurs.
Frank Lampard has a good understanding of the Chelsea squad and is thought to be keen on a few players, including Billy Gilmour and Conor Gallagher, who could be used in any swap deal.
However, with the quality they hold, whether Chelsea would believe it would be of benefit to use either of them as makeweight, remains to be seen.
London rivals Spurs are also looking at a potential swap deal following reports from The Telegraph that they will offer Steven Bergwijn as part of the transfer to take the Brazilian to north London.
A deal to take Richarlison to Antonio Conte’s side appears to be nearing so a deal to west London looks increasingly unlikely.
Who else could Chelsea use in swap deals?
Academy graduates on the fringes of the first-team are likely to attract a lot of interest in trade deals due to their high potential and sell on values, such as Gallagher, Broja and Gilmour.
Chelsea will try and resist permanent moves for these players, however they could be very useful assets to trade with should loan options, especially, be a viable option for all parties involved.
Emerson Palmieri, Michy Batshuayi and Ruben Loftus Cheek seem plausible alternatives, but must be attractive options to prospective clubs. Big names such as Hakim Ziyech, Timo Werner and Jorginho have all been linked with moves away from west London and shouldn’t be discounted in swap deal negotiations due to their high value.
Will we see more trade deals in the future?
It is plausible that Chelsea could use trade deals beyond this summer, but it will no doubt depend on the success rate this summer should Boehly and co attempt to use it on a frequent basis during the summer transfer window.
Boehly is being pragmatic in trying to offload players in swaps that Chelsea may have otherwise struggled to sell for cash, in attempting to overhaul the squad quickly. Moving forward there may be less need for this if squad planning improves and there isn’t a constant push to sell unwanted players.
However, the LA Dodgers utilise the trade deal model regularly in MLB, and with great success, and Chelsea may look to replicate this.
Considering Boehly’s recent comments that Financial Fair Play is finally beginning to ‘get some teeth’, it is possible Chelsea will revert to trade deals more often to adapt to football's changing financial climate.