Where has Chelsea's money gone?
Roman Abramovich has spent fortunes on players over the last few years, breaking the world record for a transfer fee just last summer. Now we hear Mourinho saying they can not afford Pepe because of his price tag and in January a move for Tal Ben Haim failed because they could not agree a fee with Bolton.
There are a number of theories I have heard, including the one about Roman tightening the purse strings because he intends to get rid of Jose at the end of the season. If that is the reason then he is a very petty man because it has been clear all season that Chelsea need another centre back. If they fail to win a trophy then Abramovich would have to take most of the blame in that case.
At least we can immediately rule out money problems, even his divorce cost Roman a lot less than was expected. Though someone did suggest to me that his ex-wife settled for less on the condition he stopped throwing money at his toy. His theory was that the ex-wife knows he loves football so she vindictively took that pleasure away from him. We all know break ups are vicious but I really think that theory is extremely unlikely to be true. Though, having said that, I suppose it is possible and as someone once said once you rule out the impossible whatever is left, however implausible, is what happened.
Another commonly held theory is that Abramovich is under investigation back home in Russia over his financial affairs. That can be swiftly ruled out as the investigation was cancelled in return for Roman becoming governor of a run-down Russian province and spending his own money on taking it into the 21st century.
Maybe the problem is that the least interesting answer is the correct one - perhaps Chelsea really are trying to run the club as a business. If that is the case then the Chelsea fans had best get used to some lean times ahead as they are not yet capable of matching Man United's spending power without Roman's help. With Arsenal's new stadium and Liverpool having new owners willing to spend money they should be able to move past the Blues. In fact with the huge wages Chelsea are paying out, it is doubtful they can spare anything for transfer fees. Especially with Frank Lampard and John Terry looking for improved contracts. Without some investment from their Russian owner I can see Chelsea falling behind Liverpool, if Rafa buys wisely. With Arsenal's youngsters having another year's experience behind them next season could be very interesting indeed.
Article written by Tris Burke