In Depth

Chelsea reap the financial rewards of their loan 'factory'

The Blues have made £275m from selling players over the past decade, with much of the money coming from players like Patrick Bamford

Chelsea's loan system appears to be paying off after it was reported that the Blues have made a profit of more than £275m on player sales over the past ten years, eclipsing all but one of their Premier League rivals.

The figures from the clubs' annual reports show that only Spurs have made more money offloading talent than the Blues, says The Times.  

Spurs made £287m over the same period, although the paper notes that £84m of that came in one deal when the club sold Gareth Bale to Real Madrid in 2013. Manchester United's profit of £171m was also bolstered by the sale of Cristiano Ronaldo to the Spanish giants for £80m in 2009.

Of the other big clubs, Arsenal are the closest to Chelsea, say the Times, having made £262.9m overall.

"The figures show how Chelsea have been able to comply with Uefa's financial fair play rules, and how their policy of sending dozens of players out on loan has paid off," reports the paper. 

Since taking over in 2003, Blues owner Roman Abramovic has invested more than £1bn in the club, "but they have picked up considerable income from selling both established players, such as David Luiz, and those they have sent out on loan, such as Patrick Bamford, who signed for Chelsea from Nottingham Forest for £1.5 million and was sold last week to Middlesbrough for about £6m having never played a game for the London side".

After Bamford was sold last week Jason Burt of the Daily Telegraph wrote of the Stamford Bridge loan policy: "Chelsea balk at suggestions they are running some kind of football factory, an economic model to generate income and help them comply with Financial Fair Play, but what they have developed is not, yet, a clear path into the first team – although that is changing under manager Antonio Conte, it seems – but rather an astute business model.

"An important part of that is gathering talent, developing it and selling it on efficiently if it is deemed the player will not make the first-team grade. A moot point is whether or not a number of those players were ever thought good enough or were simply bought to sell in the first place. Chelsea reject this theory."

The Blues have 35 players out on loan at the moment, and although they retain close ties with the club and do not feel "forgotten", the Daily Mail says many "worry about how tough it is to try to find a path to the first team".

Thibaut Courtois is one example of a player who has broken through after spending time on loan, notes the Mail, but it doesn't always work out. "When you have 30-plus players out and about, not all of them are going to make it at Chelsea. There are hits and misses."

Running the rule over the current crop of Blues loanees, the Mail comes up with a value for each of them. Some, like the relatively well-known Loic Remy (Crystal Palace) and Christian Atsu (Newcastle), are worth millions. Others, like teenage goalkeeper Nathan Baxter (Solihull Moors), less so.

But the paper puts the value of the 35 players at a staggering £175.2m – more than the value of most Premier League first team squads.

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