By David Owen
December 16 – It is a situation that encapsulates the globalisation of top-class football in the 21st century: the sale of Brazilian midfielders to China is promising to have a transformative effect on the financial performance of a West London club controlled by a Russian businessman.
Already the financial results of Roman Abramovich’s Chelsea – the runaway Premier League leaders – are set to benefit significantly in 2015-16 from the £25 million sale early in the year of Ramires to Jiangsu Suning, a Chinese Super League club based in Nanjing, the former capital city.
Now it seems increasingly likely that the Blues’ 2016-17 bottom-line may get an even more significant boost from the possible departure of Oscar for another Super League club, Shanghai SIPG.
If the supposed fee of around £60 million for the 25-year-old Brazil midfielder turns out to be anywhere near accurate once the transfer window opens, the impact on Chelsea’s profit for the year to 30 June 2017 could exceed £50 million.
This would just about make up for the unaccustomed absence of a revenue stream from Champions League or Europa League football at Stamford Bridge this season, the legacy of last year’s disappointing campaign.
It would also be more than double the gain that I think they will have booked on the Ramires deal in 2015-16. Based on previous years, the club’s 2015-16 accounts should be available from Companies House in early January.
In the context of a 2014-15 pre-tax loss of £22.7 million, these are significant figures that may prove a big help in ensuring continued compliance with Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations. Bruce Buck, chairman, had emphasised the importance of this in unveiling those 2014-15 results, saying it had been a “primary aim” to be “one of the clubs with a continuous record of meeting the regulations, which we have achieved”.
Oscar came to Chelsea from Brazil’s Internacional in July 2012 for a fee put by TransferMarkt at £27.2 million. Taking into account a new contract the player was reported to have signed in November 2014, I estimate that Oscar’s value on the London club’s books ought to have been whittled down to £7 million-£8 million, via a process known as amortisation. This would appear to leave a net gain of up to £53 million on a transfer fee of £60 million.
In Ramires’s case I estimated that his residual book value at the time of his move to China was likely to have been at most £2.7million, leaving a net gain of more than £22 million.
The pair have won exactly 100 Brazil caps between them.
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