Roman Abramovich is a man who knows what he wants. Without having a personal relationship with the Russian, that’s a fact that appears clear given his role in helping revitalise Chelsea Football Club.
When the 45-year-old arrived at Stamford Bridge in the summer of 2003, few could have predicted the financial investment Abramovich would make in west London.
An in-depth look at the figures announced by the Blues at the end of January shows a £222 million turnover for the year end 2011, but a £67.7 million overall loss over the same period.
That means the world’s 53rd richest person, according to Forbes magazine’s 2011 list, has ‘lost’ £630 million since taking over his current role from Ken Bates. Factor in £340 million worth of loans converted into equity, and this figure rises to a staggering £970 million.
When additional transfer activity over the past six months is taken into account, such as the signings of Juan Mata, Romelu Lukaku, Raul Meireles, Gary Cahill and Kevin de Bruyne, and we soon see reach the magical £1 billion figure over eight-and-a-half years at the helm.
With the UEFA Financial Fair Play rules set to kick-in over the coming seasons, such super spending is expected to be something from the past. Irrespective of how much Abramovich is willing to throw at the club; Chelsea must meet specific requirements set out by the governing body.
"The club is focused on complying with the requirements of Uefa's financial fair play regulations while maintaining its ability to challenge for major trophies. We would expect this to be reflected in our results for the current financial year," said chairman Bruce Buck when announcing the figures.
With so much money at his disposal, Chelsea has never been about business for Abramovich in the sense that profit out of the club doesn't appear to be the main objective. If you took the club out of a football context, it would seem like a very poor investment.
But, it doesn’t always have to be about money. For a man with so much, spending a billion on success seems like a pretty good deal – and Blues fans wouldn’t disagree with that statement.
Under Jose Mourinho, the world’s most charismatic manager, Chelsea gained their first league success in 50 years. The former Porto boss was drafted in by Abramovich to bring success and swagger to the King’s Road. He delivered with back-to-back domestic titles.
Two League Cup and two FA Cup successes have also come the club’s way, although not all under ‘the special one’, who left for pastures new in 2007. Guus Hiddink and Carlo Ancelotti enjoyed some of the successes, whilst the jury is out on current manager Andre Villas-Boas.
Abramovich isn’t afraid to spend on managers, or players for that matter. The £50 million English record fee for Fernando Torres is the biggest example.
Ramires, David Luiz, Daniel Sturridge, Jose Bosingwa, Deco, Florent Malouda, Nicolas Anelka, John Obi-Mikel, Michael Essien, Ricardo Carvalho, Arjen Robben, Shaun Wright-Phillips, Didier Drogba and Hernan Crespo are just some examples of those who have also come through the club's doors for substantial transfer fees.
Andrei Shevchenko and Yuri Zhirkov weren’t cheap either, but show the possible dark side of when an owner looks to become involved in transfer dealings.
That, at one stage, appeared to be an issue which might affect Abramovich’s reputation at Chelsea. It has not proved to be the case.
Instead, the former Governor of Chukotka has fulfilled his duties as owner from the stands, made efforts to move the club to a new stadium and helped fund a stunning training ground facility at Cobham.
Could Abramovich have done much more? He will think yes, because the Champions League remains a dream still unfulfilled during his tenure.
Even without Europe’s greatest prize, his reign can only be described as a success, and whilst the sceptics will say he’s ‘lost’ a billion, fans will be grateful that he opted for Chelsea to ‘invest’ all that money.
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