Todd Boehly’s spat with Fiorentina over a last-minute bid for Sofyan Amrabat – while doing £107m Enzo Fernandez paperwork – and jetting in for Mykhailo Mudryk unannounced: Report sheds new light on Chelsea’s bizarre £323m January window
- Chelsea splashed out a record £323m on new signings during January window
- It has emerged Todd Boehly tried to sign Sofyan Amrabat on deadline day
- That came as negotiations were taking place for £107m Enzo Fernandez
Chelsea reportedly made a last-gasp bid to sign World Cup star Sofyan Amrabat, leading to a row with Fiorentina, while completing the British record £107million signing of Enzo Fernandez.
Co-owner Behdad Eghbali also turned up in Turkey unannounced to steal £88m signing Mykhailo Mudryk from under the noses of rivals Arsenal.
But the club’s transfer strategy – which led to a record outlay of £323m in the January window – has apparently left executives at rival clubs perplexed.
The New York Times has revealed how Chelsea’s busy window took a further twist on deadline day when Todd Boehly tried to sign Moroccan midfielder Amrabat while other executives were working on the Fernandez deal with Benfica.
American owner Boehly, who has taken a hands-on approach to transfer dealings since taking over at Stamford Bridge, reportedly told Fiorentina that Chelsea wanted to sign Amrabat on loan.
Chelsea owner Todd Boehly reportedly tried to sign Fiorentina’s Sofyan Amrabat on deadline day while negotiations were ongoing for the £107m purchase of Enzo Fernandez
Boehly has overseen a splurge of £323million on eight new players in the January window
His last-gasp bid for Amrabat apparently happened during talks over Enzo Fernandez
The Italian club swiftly informed Boehly this wouldn’t be possible – quoting a large fee for a permanent transfer – and then rebuked him by asking how he’d feel if a club turned up in the closing minutes of a window and tried to poach a Chelsea star.
In the end, the Blues had to make do with just Fernandez, the Argentinean World Cup winner, who completed his £107m move right on Tuesday night’s deadline.
He was the club’s eighth signing of the January window, following Mudryk, Joao Felix, Benoit Badiashile, Malo Gusto and others through the door.
Chelsea’s January expenditure was larger than that of every club in LaLiga, Serie A, Bundesliga and Ligue 1 combined.
The New York Times detailed how Eghbali went to extraordinary lengths to sign Ukrainian star Mudryk ahead of London rivals Arsenal.
Shakhtar president Sergei Palkin was at the Cullinan Belek hotel in the Turkish resort of Antalya when he received a phone call from Eghbali informing him he was also in the hotel having flown in by private jet.
The deal was concluded that day, with Palkin telling the paper that Chelsea’s £88m offer for Mudryk was ‘more concrete’ than Arsenal’s as the fee would be paid over two years instead of four.
Chelsea co-owner Behdad Eghbali flew to Turkey be private jet unannounced to poach Mykhailo Mudryk from under the noses of Arsenal
Mudryk completed an £88m move from Shakhtar to Chelsea after Eghbali’s intervention
Palkin said that Eghbali outlined the vision of the Chelsea ownership during negotiations. ‘They want to invest in new players, new infrastructure, they have plans to build a new stadium,’ he said.
‘At a minimum there will be an increase in the income at Chelsea. In three to four years, Chelsea will look very professional.’
However, executives at other clubs in the Premier League and beyond, speaking anonymously to the New York Times, said it was hard to discern a clear plan to explain Chelsea’s spending.
One executive at a continental club said Chelsea had ‘destroyed the market’ by causing transfer fees to be inflated.
It has already led to UEFA action to stop Chelsea’s policy of handing out contracts of seven years or more to new signings in order to spread out payments and avoid Financial Fair Play sanctions.
Fernandez, for example, has agreed a contract at Stamford Bridge through until 2031.
Chelsea’s January acquisitions are already causing headaches, however, with manager Graham Potter forced to omit several new arrivals from his Champions League squad for the knockout rounds.