Chelsea’s transfer plans suffer major blow after Premier League votes to close loophole

Chelsea’s transfer plans have been dealt a major blow after Premier League clubs voted to limit the amortisation of fees to five years.

The Blues have spent heavily under the club’s new owners but handed out eight-year deals to players such as Enzo Fernandez, Moises Caicedo and Mykhailo Mudryk in order to spread the cost of their transfer fees and meet the Premier League’s financial fair play requirements.

While the rule will not be backdated, meaning previous signings will not be impacted, it will prevent Chelsea or any other club from continuing to exploit the accounting loophole in the future. Uefa also acted to limit amortisation to five years in the summer, with the Premier League now falling in line.

As an example of using amortisation to spread fees, a £100m transfer would cost a club £12.5m per season if the player was signed on an eight-year contract. But that transfer would cost £20m per season if the contract was only over five years.

Chelsea had looked to use that strategy with major transfers under their new owners, with Fernandez (£105m), Mudryk (£62m) and record Premier League buy Caicedo (£115m) all registered until 2031 after signing eight-year contracts.

Manager Mauricio Pochettino said following Chelsea’s dismal defeat to Everton on Sunday that he would look to use the transfer window in January - despite the club’s record £400m spending this summer. The Blues have spent over £1bn under co-owners Todd Boehly and Behdad Eghbali.

The Premier League confirmed the ruling following Tuesday’s shareholders meeting and also announced a further change, with clubs now banned from signing players if they owe a transfer debt to another Premier League or English Football League club.