Andre Schurrle’s impending exit provides an example of Chelsea’s FFP nous 1

A couple of years ago, Chelsea were widely mocked for their obsession with attacking-midfielders.  For a period of time, it seemed as if Michael Emenalo was allowing the team as a whole to decay whilst relentlessly stockpiling the squad’s attacking options.

Emenalo was done a disservice, though, because it is that same strategy which is allowing the club to remain aggressive in the transfer market during the Financial Fair Play era.

Within the next few hours, Juan Cuadrado is expected to move to Stamford Bridge for close to £30m.  Either before or shortly after that, Andre Schurrle will be departing the club and returning to Germany for a very similar fee.

Schurrle will have spent just eighteen months in England and will leave having made no discernible mark on the Premier League.  He has never truly been a first-team regular under Jose Mourinho and his time in this country has in no way enhanced his reputation.

Yet he will be sold for a profit and, subsequently, provide the perfect example of why Chelsea’s approach to FFP-compliance has been so successful.

What Emenalo and the rest of the technical staff clearly recognised some time ago, is that buying young attacking players can essentially be an investment.  Because of the nature of the sport and the premium placed on goals and assists, advanced players of a certain ability will rarely depreciate in value - irrespective of how active they actually are.

Schurrle was almost certainly signed to play a bigger role than he ultimately has done, but that original transfer was presumably conducted on the basis that, even if he didn’t transition into English football, he would still be a financial asset to Chelsea.

It’s method rather than coincidence: consider the purchasing power afforded by the recent sales of Juan Mata, Romelu Lukaku, Kevin De Bruyne and now Schurrle.  All attacking players, all signed before the age of twenty-three and all sold at a significant net profit.

And, you would imagine, Mohamed Salah and Victor Moses will soon be added to that list, either in January or at the end of the season.

Every major club has a different way of combating the FFP issue: Manchester United exploit their foreign support to leverage commercial deals, Manchester City do….whatever it is that they do with all of those affiliated clubs, and Chelsea do this.

It’s football prospecting - and, considering how much developing attacking talent the club have dotted around Europe on-loan, it’s clearly a strategy that they intend to persevere with.

Mario Pasalic, Marco Van Ginkel, Christian Atsu, Bertrand Traore, Lucas Piazon, Thorgan Hazard…it’s an endless list of players who will either become established first-teamers themselves, or who will be used to off-set the cost of buying superior talent off-the-peg.

Roman Abramovich isn’t paying for Juan Cuadrado, the recruitment strategy is.

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