We’ve seen a lot of changes at Chelsea in terms of finances lately, some I agree with and some I’m less sure about – less transfers, a streamlined squad, cutting back on scouting staff, reducing the number of complimentary tickets for players and even threatening to make them pay for their own meals.
Chelsea’s latest idea though, I have to say makes complete sense.
Michael Ballack’s contract, which is worth £121,000 a week, expires at the end of the season although both Ballack and Chelsea have the option to extend that for a further 12 months if they choose. However, probably because they’ve paid out for services so often not delivered in the past, this time Chelsea are planning to offer a contract with a performance-based component.
Ballack got himself a pretty decent signing on fee having come to us on a free transfer and it’s suggested he’s happy enough so far with talks that seem to be around a lower salary with significant bonuses depending on performance. In fact, we’re told that the only hitch could be the length of the extension, with it initially planned for 12 months and Ballack wanting to hang around until 2011.
God knows we’ve got a fair few older players in our squad and in the past they’ve sat back and earned a mint however they’ve played, so for once Chelsea seem to have really thought about what they’re doing.
Take Frank Lampard’s deal in the summer. I have to say I was bloody furious when he was given a five year deal at his age with what appeared to be such obscene earnings. That’s not to say that his salary isn’t ridiculous, but the fact that it appears he won’t be earning that amount for the full five years makes me a little happier with it.
I kept thinking at the time ‘how do they know he’ll even get in the side then?’ and what about wear and tear? Players that age don’t get over injuries as well as younger players, so in effect we could’ve been paying Lampard shedloads of money even if he didn’t make it on the pitch. But seeing as that doesn’t appear to be Chelsea’s plan anymore, then I can only applaud them for that.
I know we’re still a long way off being self-sufficient and we’ve certainly made more than our fair share of mistakes where money’s concerned over the years, but with the squad we have right now I think that financially at least, this has to be a step in the right direction.