Chelsea turned back the clocks in the summer transfer window, signing seven players for an outlay that would have raised eyebrows in the early lavish years of the Roman Abramovich era.
More than £200 million was invested in the playing squad, with Timo Werner, Kai Havertz, and Ben Chilwell brought in for fees of £50m-plus. Hakim Ziyech, meanwhile, arrived for £33m and Edouard Mendy joined from Rennes for £22m. At least Thiago Silva was free.
This spending spree refreshed Frank Lampard’s side; there is now a core group of players at Stamford Bridge who can thrive for, at least, the next five years.
The Covid-19 pandemic created a transfer market lull that Chelsea took advantage of, there is no doubt about that. Yet the Blues’ recruitment drive may have also come as a result of Brexit.
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The United Kingdom will leave the European Union at the end of this month – the transition period ends on December 31, 2020 – and with that will come a new set of rules for signing overseas players.
Quite what form these rules would take was uncertain, which may be why Chelsea decided to go big in the summer market.
However, this week, the Football Association, Premier League, and EFL agreed a framework with the Home Office on a points basis system, decided by a Governing Body Endorsement (GBE) panel, when it comes to signing EU players.
This will begin in January and points will be awarded for senior and youth international appearances, senior club appearances, and the quality of the selling club based on the league they’re in, their position in said league, and their progression in continental competition.
Premier League sides will also now be restricted from recruiting overseas players until they are 18 years old. Signings who are under 21 will be limited to three in the January transfer window, and six per season after that.
So how does…